BURDEKIN Shire ratepayers face a general rate increase of “only 2.5 per cent”, Mayor Lyn McLaughlin has announced in the 2022/23 Budget brought down this week, which she said was due to “responsible financial management and access to State and Federal funding opportunities”.
Sitting at less than half of the March, 2022 Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation of 5.1 per cent, the Mayor said the budget “would still deliver Council’s essential infrastructure, services and a range of projects to benefit residents across the Shire”.
However, there are also rises in the domestic waste service charge by $10 to $488; the water access charge by $19 to $492; and the sewerage charge by $17 to $577, while council has also introduced a $30 aquatic facilities separate charge to fund maintenance and operating costs associated with the region’s aquatic facilities.
Cr McLaughlin said the 2022/23 Budget included a range of not only enhancements to the region, but opportunities to empower locals and communities.
“In delivering the 2022/23 Budget, Council recognised the ongoing effects of the pandemic on businesses and individuals, with a modest increase to enable the Burdekin Shire to continue to be an enviable Local Government Area in which to live, work, play, visit and invest,” she said, which would assist Council in developing Community Action Plans for additional localities through to the continuation of works on the Water Park in Ayr and which will include construction of a new kiosk and entry to the Ayr Swimming Pool.
“Council acknowledges the cost-of-living pressures and, as such, has kept the general rate increase to a minimum and have increased the pensioner remission to $380. That said, Council is also not immune to cost increases, with prices of fuel, electricity, material required for construction and more all impacted. “This is a responsible Budget delivered during difficult economic times,” the mayor commented. While the budget still allows for a continuance of multi-million-dollar projects in Ayr, such as the construction of the Water Park at the Ayr Pool and the extension of the Ayr Industrial
Estate, there is little for residents of Home Hill to celebrate, apart from normal road and traffic maintenance, with nothing noted in media releases for much-needed improvements to Home Hill’s Central Business District.
The following are references to the Home Hill community in the various press releases from council after the budget was brought down.
Roads and Drainage
More than $12.5 million will be spent on local roads and drainage projects across the Burdekin Shire over the next 12 months, with the $11.529 million for capital roadworks also including design and construction of footpaths in Alva, Giru, Home Hill and Ayr.
Cr McLaughlin said Council’s 2022/23 Budget was all about enhancing the region in everything ranging from community workshops and business mentorship to investing in upgrades to roads, footpaths, drainage, water, waste and wastewater infrastructure, parks and cultural venues.
“Council is designing further drainage on Thirteenth and Fourteenth Avenue, Home Hill.”
Funding is also allocated towards the design and construction of stage three of the Burdekin Be Active Trail along Ninth Avenue.
Cr McLaughlin said strategic planning allowed Council to deliver a number of community-enhancing projects with support from all tiers of Government.
This strategic planning is occurring in other areas too, with Home Hill’s Watson’s Green
and Memorial Park Master Plan adopted last year also securing State Government funding for a sensory trail in Memorial Park in 2022/23 to complement the Watson’s Green Ninja Warrior Course, completed last financial year. “To assist with
funding the operation of all aquatic facilities in the Shire, including the Ayr, Home Hill, Clare and Millaroo Swimming Pools and the Water Park in Ayr, Council will introduce a separate charge of $30 per rateable property,” she said.
Cr McLaughlin said following the official opening of the Home Hill 5ML Reservoir earlier this month, Council’s focus for water projects in the 2022/23 Budget was on continued improved resilience. “A further $200,000 is also allocated to the continued installation of smart water meters across the Shire, which forms part of a six-year program.”