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2022-23 Mayor's Budget Address (As tabled at the Special Budget Meeting on Friday 8 July 2022)Brett Otto

2022-23 Budget – Moving Forward Together:

The people of the South Burnett, today, we as your representatives, table the proposed South Burnett Regional Council budget for 2022/2023.

To the people of our region, this is your money, this is your budget, this is your Council’s commitment to responsibly applying the funds provided by ratepayers and taxpayers towards building our region and providing you with a brighter future.

As custodians of your public funds, we have a duty to our community to provide value for money for ratepayers, improved service standards, enhanced facilities for youth, families, the disabled and the elderly as well as a commitment from Council to create an environment that encourages investment in our region, promotes economic prosperity and population growth and most importantly, supports the sustainable development of all communities across our rural towns and villages, irrespective of size or location.

Council has engaged intensively over several months now in working through the budget line by line and together, with our CEO and staff have made every effort to deliver a budget that provides a responsible and compassionate response to the economic challenges facing the people of our region.

Having said that, this budget is far from perfect, indeed it is very much a work-in-progress and I acknowledge that we have much more work to do, particularly in addressing the projected $3.52M deficit. It is however, an important first step and reflects the priorities outlined in Council’s Operational Plan for the year ahead.

It is a $108 million plan to building a stronger South Burnett through partnerships with higher levels of government and by working together through stronger connection to, and better engagement with our community.

In delivering this budget, Council remains conscious of the financial, social and emotional burden endured by our region’s residents through the recent floods and the cost of living pressures brought on by the increasing inflation and interest rate rises.

In response to such, Council has been careful to formulate a considered and measured response to supporting the community through these challenging times. A response that provides short-term relief without compromising the ability of Council to sustain a sound financial position and asset management strategy for future generations. As such, this budget, if adopted will provide:

  • a modest 1.75% increase to general rates, with the application of three year averaging to smooth the impact of recent property valuation increases;
  • $75M worth of operational services to our region;
  • a $33M investment in capital asset renewals and upgrades;
  • $28M in road maintenance and upgrades, and
  • the introduction of Kerb side recycling.

I must acknowledge the contribution made by the Queensland and Australian Governments in providing grant funding from a range of programs supporting Council’s operational and capital programs.

Having said that, I must convey our Council’s deep disappointment in the Queensland Grant’s Commissions decision to reduce our share of the Australian Government’s Financial Assistance Grant program by some $500,000.

In this budget, our ratepayers will fund 88% of Council’s operating budget, with only 12% coming from government assistance. This is well above the state average for rural based regional councils and places significant pressure on our organisation to deliver an increasing list of services, once provided by higher levels of government.

As such, we join with other Councils across Australia, in calling on the recently elected Australian Government to increase the Local Government Financial Assistance Grants provided to states from 0.5% to 1.0% of Federal taxation revenue. We also call on the Queensland Government to address the inequitable allocation of these funds to our Council.

In closing, I wish to acknowledge and thank my fellow Councillors, our CEO, Mark Pitt, Council staff and in particular our General Manager Finance and Corporate Services, Susan Jarvis and her hard working finance team for their concerted efforts in bringing the 2022-23 budget to fruition.

I have a strong sense that the current decade will provide a renewed period of regional prosperity for our region.

Mayor Brett Otto


To view the Budget Committee Meetings video recordings please follow this link to Council's meeting page.

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