Sunshine Coast Council delivers a budget to build Australia’s smart region
  • Thursday 16 June 2016
Building Australia

The mayor of one of the fastest growing regions in the country has handed down a $717 million council budget which focuses on building Australia’s smart region – economically and environmentally – while also delivering the core services which continue to grow a strong community.

General rates for the majority of ratepayers will increase by $28 to $1138 per annum and the cost of collection of a 240 litre wheelie bin will increase by $4.60 to $276 per annum.

The combined increase of 2.2% is in line with the LGAQ Council Cost Index.

For the first time in eight years, council will increase the Environment Levy by $10 to $70; the Transport Levy by $7 to $27 and the Heritage Levy by $3 to $8 per annum, a combined annual increase of $20.

The combined increase is less than $1 a week.

Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said the early bird and pensioner discounts had been maintained.

“Council is investing $100 million to maintain, renew and replace roads, pathways and stormwater assets,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“Our libraries, galleries and community facilities will receive $33 million, and another $46 million will go towards economic initiatives including major events, our airport and holiday parks.

“Maintaining, renewing and replacing Sunshine Coast’s many parks, gardens and sporting facilities remains a high priority as we strive to maintain our number one position of Queensland’s healthiest region.

“So $63 million has been allocated to those important community assets.

“Our environment, including our beaches, foreshores and bushland conservation programs will receive $28 million and another $7 million will be allocated to community events and grants giving a helping hand to clubs and associations who contribute to our lifestyle and help others.”

Mayor Jamieson said the council’s 2016/17 budget included a $253 million capital works program and was an investment in the future of our communities thanks to a number of game-changer projects.

“This financial year council is investing $53 million in the new Maroochydore City Centre - Australia’s only greenfield CBD within an existing urban area,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“This project is being developed as a smart city from below the ground up. It will include residential, commercial, retail and dining precincts, entertainment, convention and exhibition facilities and a premium hotel, with 40% of the 53 hectare site retained as parks and waterways.

“The new CBD is expected to generate 30,000 jobs by 2040.”

Sunshine Coast Council is Australia’s first local government to build a solar farm to offset its entire electricity consumption and will invest $31 million in the game-changer project during 2016/17.

Mayor Jamieson said the Sunshine Coast Solar Farm, due for completion in 2017, would provide $22 million in savings (after costs), over a 30-year period.

The Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project will receive a $25 million investment to start design and planning works for the new runway.

Due to be completed in 2020, the airport expansion project will deliver 2230 jobs, inject $4.1 billion into the local economy through to 2040 and result in 3500 fewer dwellings being affected by noise each day by 2020.

“Each of our game-changer projects is visionary and innovative, will build our economy and create jobs and will significantly benefit future generations,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“They incorporate smart technology to deliver the best outcomes possible for our economy, our environment and our community.

“And while funding game-changing projects is important, so too is our responsibility to renew and maintain our core services as our population continues to grow.

“Our capital works program also includes $6 million for community and sporting facilities; $13 million for parks and gardens; $59 million for transport and stormwater projects; $13 million on waste management infrastructure; $6 million on the Sunshine Coast Airport and holiday parks.

“Our Sunshine Coast environment will receive a $9.3 million investment through the Environment Levy alone, a primary funding source which allows council to deliver on its long-term strategic approach to environmental management,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“Funding will allow for land acquisition, partnerships and grants such as the very successful Land for Wildlife Program, environmental operational management and flying fox roost management and education, coastal dunal rehabilitation and river restoration activities.

“The Sunshine Coast is, without question, a special place. Our natural assets are a defining feature of our region and council is committed to preserving and enhancing our environment.

“Preserving our heritage is equally important and the Heritage Levy allows council to meet key heritage outcomes identified in our five year Heritage Plan – knowledge, conservation, support, communication and advocacy.

“This includes identifying and understanding the places and buildings that have shaped this region.  A new Cultural Heritage Study, which is underway, will inform how we manage these heritage places.

“It also allows council to establish an accumulative Heritage Futures Fund  which will enable a long term savings plan to fund those bigger projects this region may require in the future such as a regional interpretation and storage space for heritage collections.”

The Transport Levy will fund service improvements, bus stop upgrades to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act, improve hinterland services and undertake research, planning and investigations analysis. The levy will also contribute to the Transport Futures Fund for projects such as Sunshine Coast Light Rail.

Mayor Jamieson said council would continue its commitment to reducing waste going into our landfills and encouraging residents to reduce, reuse and recycle.

“The garden waste bin charge remains the same at $60 per annum and residents can continue to dispose of their unwanted mattress and non-degassed fridge for free.”

The tourism and major events levy has risen by 10% and will affect 10% of ratepayers.

“Council will invest $1.66 million in major events this year which benefit the whole economy,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“The Australasian Police and Emergency Services Games (7,400 visitors); Mooloolaba Triathlon (10,500 visitors); The Queensland Garden Expo (35,000 visitors) and The Ironman 70.3 World Championship (9,000 visitors) are just some of the many community and sporting events council is supporting.”

Finance Portfolio Councillor Tim Dwyer said the council had handed down a responsible budget which held down costs and produced a very strong balance sheet with good cash flow.

“The Sunshine Coast Council has been independently ranked as the second highest performing regional economy in Queensland and has the highest level of business confidence of all regions in the State,” Cr Dwyer said.

“Council has received seven consecutive unqualified audits. We have also been awarded the second highest financial ranking by the Queensland Treasury Corporation – no other council is higher.

“Thanks to the strong economic strategy being pursued by this council and our proximity to Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast is playing an important role in the future productivity of the Australian nation.

“This budget ensures we continue on that pathway as we build Australia’s smart region.”

The 2016/17 budget highlights include:

  • $100 million to maintain, renew and replace roads, pathways and stormwater
  • $33 million for libraries, galleries and community facilities
  • $46 million for economic initiatives, including major events, airport and holiday parks
  • $63 million to maintain, renew and replace council’s many parks, gardens and sporting facilities
  • $28 million for environment, including beaches, foreshores and bushland conservation
  • $7 million for community events and grants

 

Capital works projects:

  • $6 million for community and sporting facilities
  • $13 million for parks and gardens
  • $59 million for transport and stormwater projects
  • $13 million on waste management infrastructure
  • $6 million on the Sunshine Coast Airport and holiday parks
  • $53 million for Maroochydore CBD
  • $31 million for Sunshine Coast Solar Farm
  • $25 million for the Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project

 

2016/17 Budget – Rate Notice for a residential owner occupied property on the

Minimum General Rate

Annual Rates

2015/16

2016/17

Variation $

General Rates

$1110

$1138.00

$28

240 litre Wheelie bin

$271.40

$276.00

$4.60

Sub Total

$1381.40

$1414.00

$32.60

Environment Levy

$60.00

$70.00

$10.00

Transport Levy

$20.00

$27.00

$7.00

Heritage Levy

$5.00

$8.00

$3.00

Sub Total including levies

$1466.40

$1519.00

$52.60

Less Discount

$55.50

$56.90

$1.40

TOTAL

$1410.90

$1462.10

$51.20

NET July 2016 six-monthly rates notice

$705.45

$731.05

$25.60