Mayor Margaret Strelow was pleased with the 2019-20 annual report adopted today by Rockhampton Regional Council.
Mayor Margaret Strelow was pleased with the 2019-20 annual report adopted today by Rockhampton Regional Council.

Council takes ‘financial hit’, still records surplus

ROCKHAMPTON Regional Council has recorded an operating surplus for the past financial year, despite taking a “financial hit” due to coronavirus.

The council today adopted its 2019-20 annual report which revealed the organisation’s financial position at June 30.

The report showed an operating surplus of $1.5m - a figure described as “very close” to the budgeted position despite substantial impacts being felt from COVID-19.

For the past financial year, the bottom line on the statement of comprehensive income was a net gain of $51.2 million.

That gain included an increase of $15.7m in the revaluation of the council’s non-current assets, as well as capital grants and subsidies received for the 12-month period.

Rockhampton region Mayor Margaret Strelow said the annual report revealed more than just operating budgets and financial statements.

“They tell a story of resilience, bold actions, determination, and the strength of our community,” she said.

Cr Strelow said the authority began the past financial year from a position of strength after reducing its inherited amalgamation/de-amalgamation debt by $41.5m in just over six years.

She said the community had also seen some flow-on benefits from the announcement that construction at the Carmichael Mine could begin.

Other positive developments during the financial year included Adani opening a Rockhampton office and awarding a number of contracts to local businesses.

Cr Strelow said the region had also continued to grow as a centre for innovation and “start-ups”.

“Our award-winning SmartHub provided support and assistance to more than 100 start-ups and small business owners,” she said.

In 2019-20, the council invested $96.1m on capital works projects, which Cr Strelow said had boosted the local economy and driven job creation.

Work on the long-awaited Rockhampton Museum of Art project commenced, and Rocky’s was the first regional airport in Australia to reveal new state-of-the-art body scanners and baggage-screening equipment required under Federal Government protocols.

Enter the coronavirus pandemic.

“Of course, 2019-20 was a year like no other in history,” Cr Strelow said.

“The impact of COVID-10 was felt everywhere, and our region is no exception.

“It is no secret that council took a financial hit, particularly due to reduced passenger activity at the airport.

“The necessary public health response posed unprecedented challenges to our economy and the social fabric of our community as a whole.”

Cr Strelow said the council had responded to these challenges “quickly and boldly” including rolling out a $1.3m relief package for businesses and community groups.

“While we know that the financial impacts and uncertainty of COVID-19 will continue into the 2020-21 financial year, I am proud to say that as a community, we have come together to weather the storm this year,” Cr Strelow said.

She added: “I have absolute confidence that we will continue to thrive as we move forward.”

Income - Where does it come from?

- Council’s total income in 2019-20 was $246.8m;

- Rates, levies and utility charges were council’s principal source of revenue and represented about 60 per cent of council’s revenue in 2019-20;

- Council also generated income from fees and charges, undertook recoverable works and received funding in the form of grants and subsidies from both State and Federal governments, to help construct and maintain the extensive infrastructure assets and provide community development programs to the region;

- In 2019-20, 16 per cent of council’s total income was comprised of capital revenue (capital grants, subsidies and contributions).

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