Council’s fiscal challenge
  • Thursday 03 July 2008

In adopting its $673 million budget today the Sunshine Coast Regional Council has achieved one of its first major challenges in just over three months of operation.

Financial management portfolio councillor, Cr Chris Thompson, said this first budget is sensible and sustainable.

“We have been challenged with this budget,” Cr Thompson said.

“In particular, we were challenged by the short lead time to pull this together, the steep learning curve of understanding three different accounting systems and ways of doing things, by the escalation of general expenses like fuel, and by the $26 million short-changing by state government for our water assets,” Cr Thompson said.

“In this years budget there is a good mix of capital expenditure, services to the community, as well as responsible management of debt and borrowings.”

Total capital works for the region is valued at $212 million and Council will spend $17.525 million on key operational projects.

“In line with the Queensland Treasury Corporation’s (QTC) financial sustainability measures, the Sunshine Coast Council is in a very strong position,” Cr Thompson said.

“In this budget, and with the future of our region firmly in mind, Council is ensuring that we are in a sound operating position.

“It is also important that we have strong liquidity, that we can service our debt, have a high own revenue source and continue to invest in our asset base. Importantly, all of these measures for the Sunshine Coast Council exceed the QTC’s minimum indicators for financial sustainability.

“Healthy financial management is our focus, so we can maintain the great qualities that our communities enjoy and expect of their local council.

In meeting these many demands, Council is aware that this is the first budget for the amalgamated organisation and was prepared without the opportunity to consult more widely with Coast communities.

“This is just the start of improvements to financial sustainability for the Sunshine Coast Council.

“We intend to work closely with our communities in the coming months in establishing a community rating reference group to advise on Council’s future rating policies. Internally, we will also form an expenditure review committee to look at how Council can improve both services and efficiencies on behalf of our communities,” Cr Thompson said.