Redland City Council has adopted a $430 million Budget for 2023-2024 that achieves a balance between addressing the difficulties of the current economic climate while building a sound financial future for Redlands Coast.
Mayor Karen Williams said Council’s 2023-2024 community Budget was predicated on maintaining Redlands Coast’s enviable lifestyle.
“It recognises the tough economic conditions in which it has been framed and the cost-of-living pressures facing every one of us,” Cr Williams said.
“Council has made its financial decisions in respect to the fact that it is the community’s money that powers this city.”
Cr Williams said the Budget showed Council remained in a strong financial position despite the unprecedented economic uncertainties of the past three years.
“Through our continued commitment to responsible financial management we have a small operating deficit of about $2.1 million,” she said.
“In preparing the Budget, Council took stock of the current financial climate for Council and our community and has made sensible, sustainable and appropriate decisions.
“As a result of our strong cash balance, Council has been afforded the opportunity to directly address the day-to-day pressures our community is facing by recording a small operating deficit.
“Through this year’s Budget, Council will establish a $500,000 Civic Support Fund to offer rapid assistance to the community, through appropriate community organisations, where it is desperately needed.
“A subsidy also will be applied this year to the wastewater charge in your rates notice, providing more than $1.5 million of relief to those who pay wastewater charges.”
This year’s Budget includes a capital expenditure program in excess of $135.7 million.
More than half of Council’s capital spend for 2023-2024 will go towards roads and infrastructure, including key intergenerational projects such as $40.5 million for the continuation of the Wellington Street / Panorama Drive road duplication project at Thornlands; $5.48 million for an upgrade to Double Jump Road, Victoria Point; $9.92 million to fund the next stage of Birkdale Community Precinct; and $8.61 million for the continued redevelopment of the Weinam Creek hub at Redland Bay.
Cr Williams said an extra $1.67 million has been set aside for the Footpath Gap Program that will create active connections in all parts of the city by filling in the missing pieces.
“This program goes further than interconnectedness, it will encourage more residents to enjoy and use the pathways leading to better health, wellbeing and other social value benefits,” she said.
“This Budget also includes significant funding for our Southern Moreton Bay Islands and North Stradbroke Island. This investment in our islands not only makes them a better place to live and visit; it also creates jobs and drives economic opportunity for our entire city.
“The third-largest capital spend in the Budget is $23.65 million for essential water, waste and wastewater projects to ensure we maintain our high standard of service delivery to our community.
“Following the successful trial of 10 smart solar compacting rubbish bins at Wellington Point Recreation Reserve, $365,000 has been set aside in this Budget to extend the program citywide.
“There is also $85,000 budgeted for solar lighting upgrades.”
Rounding out the capital spend in the 2023-2024 Budget, $8.7 million will be spent on marine and foreshore projects to further enhance the city’s approximately 335km of coastline; a further $7.8 million has been set aside for other capital works projects; $1.67 million for community and cultural development; and $1.6 million for a new sports building at Charlie Buckler Sportsfields at Redland Bay, with just short of $500,000 on the sportsfields upgrade itself.
Cr William said Council was also investing in digital technology across the organisation.
“Businesses and government are increasingly having to block daily threats to their cyber security,” she said.
“In this year’s Budget, $4.8 million has been allocated for advancing the Digital Transformation catalyst project identified in Council’s Corporate Plan, to ensure our digital systems remain robust and secure.
“It is your private data that Council is entrusted with and we consider it a paramount responsibility to protect.
“We are also investing in digital technology to increase efficiencies in our customers’ interaction with Council; to make it a better, easier experience.”
Cr Williams said Council had not been immune to the current financial climate.
“But we have, and will continue, to do all that is possible to limit the effects. This requires driving efficiency in our operations and absorbing many of the cost pressures we are facing rather than passing them on to ratepayers,” she said.
“Council has worked tirelessly to ensure this year’s rates rise was kept as low as possible.”
The increase to the minimum general rate will be $1.02 per week or 4.65 per cent – for rating category 1a, residential owner occupiers.
The Budget also includes total pensioner remissions and rebates of approximately $3.6 million.
“Pensioner remission will continue at $335 per year for a full pensioner and $167.50 for a part-pensioner,” Cr Williams said.
“As we approach what no doubt will be another financial year filled with unpredictable regional challenges and global uncertainty, what we can be certain of is that our city will face these times with financial stability as the direct result of our past, and our ongoing, sensible fiscal management.
“This Budget was designed to limit the passing on of increasing costs to the ratepayer and, instead, spread the burden across more than one generation.
“During tough economic times, there is a balance that has to be struck between being proactive and reactive to the financial climate. The 2023-2024 Budget achieves this.”
For more information, see Council’s 2023-2024 Budget webpage.
Redland City Council 2023-2024 Budget at a glance:
- $430 million investment in Redlands Coast
- The minimum general rate will increase by 4.65 per cent (or $1.02 per week) for rating category 1a, an average owner occupier in Redland City
- Projected operating deficit of about $2.1 million
- Capital expenditure program of $135.7 million
- Total pensioner rebates of approximately $3.6 million
- $1.5 million wastewater subsidy for ratepayers
- Establishment of a $500,000 Civic Support Fund
Capital expenditure program 2023-2024 at a glance:
- $53.370 million for transport, roads and traffic projects
- $33.853 million for infrastructure projects
- $23.648 million for water, wastewater and waste projects
- $8.714 million for marine and foreshore projects
- $7.804 million for other capital works projects
- $6.664 million for open space, parks and conservation
- $1.667 million for community and cultural development