- Friday 24 July 2015
Each year during this term of our Sunshine Coast Council, we have delivered an annual budget which has placed us in an increasingly favourable financial position.
This enables Council to maintain and enhance our region’s vibrancy and the lifestyle we all know and love.
Consistently delivering a strong financial result is arguably the greatest responsibility of this Council.
Why? Because the decisions we make today have the potential to affect our community, our environment, our economy and our lifestyles tomorrow and for generations to come.
Council’s 2015-16 budget is based on sound financial management and a foresight very few councils have been willing – or indeed able – to even imagine.
This is a budget that has the community of today and tomorrow at its very heart.
It is a budget that protects and enhances our environment – for without our environmental assets, what is the Sunshine Coast?
It is a budget that maintains and develops our vibrant and distinct communities.
It is a budget that focusses on creating opportunity and prosperity – an enduring dividend for our community.
It is a budget that encourages new businesses to establish on the Sunshine Coast to create jobs, especially for our younger people, so they can remain here and raise their own families in the region.
This is a budget that continues to strengthen our economy.
In 2013, the region set itself a goal to increase household incomes to above the state average – to give all residents more employment options, and put more money into your weekly pay packets.
It is not acceptable that the average household income on the Sunshine Coast is some 20% lower than the State average.
And no one should ever be prepared to accept that as the price we pay for living on the Sunshine Coast.
I will never accept this as a satisfactory outcome for the region.
Council’s $588 million budget in 2015-16 is all about shaping our future.
At its very core is a focus on delivering infrastructure and services to cater for our residents and for a growing population.
It provides the focus and investment needed to continue our efforts to build the opportunities and prosperity of the region.
This budget is squarely focused on the essentials.
Over the next 12 months, we have allocated:
- $98 million to maintain, renew and replace local roads, bridges, pathways and our extensive stormwater system. That includes $17 million for our road reseal program.
- $34 million for libraries, galleries and community facilities.
- $40 million for economic initiatives, including supporting major events, airports and holiday parks and to assist businesses already here and attract new ones.
- $58 million to maintain, renew and upgrade council’s hundreds of parks, gardens and sporting facilities.
- $74 million to the environment, protecting our greatest assets including our beaches, foreshores bushland and our way of life and establish clean energy projects.
- $6 million for community events and grants placing a premium on arts and sports, and giving a helping hand to our groups, associations and clubs who help others.
- And $32 million to begin works at SunCentral Maroochydore which will provide opportunities for existing Sunshine Coast businesses to expand, attract new investment to our region and generate up to 10,000 new jobs over the project’s life span. We expect to see the first stage precinct released to market by the end of the year.
As I often say, this is an exciting time for the Sunshine Coast.
It is no secret that the Sunshine Coast is writing one of its most important chapters in our history.
We are seizing this once-in-a-generation opportunity, to build on our foundations and create a strong and prosperous future.
A future for our children and grandchildren.
A future where we can live, work and play in the most beautiful place on Earth.
This column first appeared in the July 2015 edition of Business Matters magazine