Budget plots a path to recovery

Cairns Regional Council has allocated $28.7 million in this year's Budget to complete the redevelopment of the Esplanade Dining Precinct.

By Grant Stone

Credit: https://cairnsregionalcouncil.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/j/E1FF9EB2A862048C2540EF23F30FEDED/1BED3284DE66DE4F16FB8100885F948E

At a glance
- Budget with a total operating expenditure of $312 million
- Record $181 million Capital Works program
- General rate rise of 1.8%
- Freeze on fees and charges
- No increase to parking fees
- Residential water usage charges increase by two cents to $1.23 per kilolitre
- A record $181 million capital works program headlines Cairns Regional Council’s 2020-21 Budget.

In adopting today’s $312 million Budget, Council endorsed a modest 1.8 per cent rate rise in recognition of the current crisis.

In his address, Mayor Bob Manning said that this was a Budget that considered the need for immediate and much-needed stimulus, while not overburdening ratepayers.

“This Budget looks not only to this financial year, or to the next couple of years, but to the long-term future of our city – it is a fiscally appropriate response to the coronavirus crisis,” Cr Manning said.

Sewerage, cleansing and water access charges will also increase by just 1.8 per cent, while residential water usage charges will rise by just two cents to $1.23 per kilolitre.

As announced last week, there will be no increases to Council’s fees and charges for the next financial year due to the impacts of COVID-19.

Council has also deferred the planned 20 cents/hour increase for city parking for 12 months and waived rental payments for commercial lessees of Council owned and/or managed facilities negatively impacted by the coronavirus until the end of this calendar year.

Across the next 12 months, Council will spend $396 million in the community through materials and services associated with delivering capital works, maintenance, renewals and other services.

This year the Capital Works program allows for:
- $43.5 million on roads, bridges, drainage, kerb and channel, shoulder sealing and bus stops
- $28.5 million on improving the wastewater network
- $32.7 million on water and waste infrastructure
- $37 million on community, sport, cultural and tourism projects
- $28.7 million for the Esplanade Dining Precinct