MONEY MATTERS: Livingstone Council brought down its new budget on Tuesday.
MONEY MATTERS: Livingstone Council brought down its new budget on Tuesday.

Council hands down new budget

LIVINGSTONE Shire Council have worked for months on the 2018-19 Budget, the sixth budget brought down since Livingstone residents regained their independence in 2014.

Mayor Bill Ludwig said it has been a culmination of months of extensive workshops between Councillors, the senior management team and key departmental officers to bring down a budget that is both prudent and financially responsible in all respects.

"While the budget has an overarching focus on consolidation and long-term financial sustainability, it is also very much focussed on maintaining Council's 'whole of Shire' commitment to the highest possible levels of affordable service delivery for our community," Cr Ludwick said.

"Building on the solid foundation of previous budgets, this budget will ensure Council can continue to appropriately maintain its assets and be well positioned to continue to deliver the necessary future capital works and facilities our community needs and expects.

"We have focussed on regaining the Shire's economic momentum lost through the forced amalgamation process, meeting the significant cost burden imposed on our community in regaining our independence and the subsequent imperatives of reconstruction of existing and major new infrastructure following Tropical Cyclone Marcia.

"In taking a well-considered and pro-active strategic approach, Council was able to set a clear vision for our future and secure over $120 million in State and Federal funding to help deliver more than $227 million of critical trunk infrastructure and major job-creating economic development projects."

Cr Ludwig said this is an outstanding result given the total combined increase in overall borrowings to deliver those extraordinary $227 million in capital works over the 4-year period has been only $9 million.

"This is a remarkable achievement well above and beyond what would be considered possible for a Council of our size, especially when put in the context of working through the combined challenges and impacts of de-amalgamation and five declared weather events that have impacted on our Shire," he said.

Projects completed or still in transit have ranged from major strategic infrastructure like Panorama Drive Statue Bay reconstruction and waste-water facilities along with tourism infrastructure, foreshore and town centre redevelopments in both Yeppoon and Emu Park, Centenary of Anzac Precinct, The Gateway Business and Industry Precinct, Capricorn Coast Homemakers Centre, a dedicated Disaster Management and Community Resilience Training Hub as well as major integrated sports facilities at Barmaryee and Emu Park, and shire-wide community playground, recreation and parkland upgrades.

Mayor Ludwig said the 2018-19 budget will continue to support and facilitate major economic stimulus projects, business development and networking as well as supporting and encouraging existing and new sporting, cultural and festival events that grow our local economy and jobs

"This year Council finalised and delivered a comprehensive Economic Development Plan for the Shire in consultation with local business,” he said.

"The budget will support and facilitate the objectives of the plan and provide continuing support for previous initiatives like the business E-newsletter, "For Business and Investment" Council website, digital economy investment, supporting local start-up businesses and entrepreneurs, Capricorn Coast Joblink and economic modelling services.”

Cr Ludwig said Council's capital program for the 2018-19 budget is $48.3 million once again with a significant proportion amounting to $14.6 million secured from State and Federal funding sources.

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