Livingstone Shire Council mayor Bill Ludwig.
Livingstone Shire Council mayor Bill Ludwig.

Unpacking Livingstone's financial performance projections

COUNCIL'S Q2 (mid-year) financial review will be presented to Livingstone Shire Council and the community next week. Prepared by council's chief financial officer, the document benchmarks council's actual financial performance against budget projections.

The Q2 review reaffirms council's remarkable achievement in delivering more than $300 million in capital works and major projects over the first six years of the new council; while still reducing the inherited liabilities of $81.2M in 2014 down to approximately $75M by the end of this financial year.

What has made this achievement even more remarkable has been the sheer scale of transformational and major infrastructure projects LSC has undertaken over the past six years. This has been despite the challenges faced in re-establishing a new council and recovering from major disaster events like Tropical Cyclone Marcia, major floods and, in more recent years, major bushfire events.

Capital Expenditure Funding chart.
Capital Expenditure Funding chart.

This is an important document and a preview of those results paints a very positive outlook for our community. It shows even better results than originally forecast when the budget was adopted especially in key areas including debt reduction.

Importantly the review also confirms and highlights council's success in long-term financial consolidation strategies that have ­progressively put our community in a sound financial position moving forward.

The key to this success has been a combination of strategic forward planning, sound management by council's financial and leadership team, and an extraordinary success record in attracting grants and funding commitments from state, federal, Queensland Reconstruction Authority and other sources.

Total Debt chart.
Total Debt chart.

Securing funding commitments is a highly competitive field. In this area LSC, when compared with other councils of our size, has consistently delivered an impressive 'strike rate' when it comes to bringing in those critical external dollars.

Collectively over the past six years, council's pro-active efforts have seen in excess of $150M committed to major projects and enabling infrastructure - money ratepayers have not had to find.

This level of critical funding has both provided the enabling infrastructure to grow our economy, while creating local construction jobs and delivered a huge economic boost when and where it has been most needed here in our community.

Well-established relationships with state and federal governments, along with the specialist skillsets to negotiate and secure the maximum funding possible, has been the key to that success. Retaining and building on that capability will be equally critical as this community moves forward into the economic and community recovery phase following the recent bushfire disaster event.

The other good news for ratepayers in the Q2 report is the 10 year budget forecast has put a ceiling on future rate-rises by linking them directly to projected CPI averages. This is something that all councillors have recognised was well overdue when they adopted councils long-term strategic direction in this year's budget.

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