2023-24 Mayor's Budget Address (As tabled at the Special Budget Meeting on Wednesday 21 June 2023)
Members of our community, fellow Councillors and staff,
Thank you for the opportunity as your Mayor to deliver the opening address on what is the final budget of this term of Council.
As with the previous three budgets, this Council has invested significant time into working through the various elements of the operational and capital budgets to reach this point today, the day each year when your Council seeks to deliver your communities annual budget.
Each and every one of the budgets delivered this term have been constructed under unique circumstances and challenges. Our first budget of 2020 was put together in the midst of the COVID outbreak and now this year we see inflation and cost of living pressures not experienced for some decades.
These external forces have a direct impact on Council, but importantly have a significant impact on the day to day lives of the residents of our communities, communities that are recognised by the ABS as some of the most socially and economically disadvantaged in the country.
This year, it appears likely that Council will deliver another operational deficit, being the fourth year in deficit out of five years since the year ending June 2020. While I acknowledge that, due to the availability of external funding, the impact of such to date has had minimal impact on Council’s asset sustainability and reasonably strong cash balance, I would take this opportunity to point out that this cannot continue.
In an economic environment where we can expect capital grants from government to progressively decrease, Council will ultimately need to return the budget to surplus if its capacity to maintain critical assets and community programs is to be sustained.
To do so, will require the pursuit of operational efficiencies, just as we see in companies across Australia, Councils must become smarter, more productive and more efficient in the ways in which community funds are managed.
The Local Government Act sets down a key principle that the decisions of Council, should at all times be made through transparent and effective processes in the public interest. It is a constant reminder that local Council is, and should always be about serving the people, whom we are elected to represent and for whom our staff are employed to serve.
In deliberating today’s budget, I encourage my colleagues to take the necessary time to carefully consider the recommendations put forward and engage pro-actively in robust debate pursuant to achieving a budget outcome that serves the best interests of the good people of the wonderful region that is the South Burnett.
In conclusion, I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who has contributed to the development of this budget, most notably our dedicated finance team, under the leadership of General Manager Jarvis and management of our remarkable Finance Manager, Kerri Anderson, on behalf of Council, please accept our sincere thanks.
Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.
Mayor Brett Otto
To view the Budget Committee Meetings video recordings please follow this link to Council's meeting page.
Previous Budget Documents