Sunshine Coast adopts $750 million regional budget
  • Tuesday 30 June 2009

The Sunshine Coast Council today handed down its first truly regional budget.

Financial management portfolio councillor, Cr Chris Thompson, said the 2008/09 budget was completed by combining the three draft budgets of the former councils, whereas the 2009/10 budget is the first where council has been able to address the vision and strategies outlined in its recently adopted 2009-2014 Corporate Plan.

“This $750 million budget has been put together under the most difficult of circumstances,” Cr Thompson said.

“Normally there is pressure to keep a tight rein on expenditure and minimise rate increases, however this year we have seen significant deceases in normally reliable revenue streams coupled with unexpected and large reductions in funding from the State Government.

“Council has tried to strike a balance on a range of fronts.”

Cr Thompson said in being responsible financial managers, council has differentiated between the operational and capital parts of its budget.

“On the operational side, we have achieved a balanced operational position. This means we won't borrow to fund operational expenditure and the balanced position is a financial key performance indicator.

“In the capital budget, we have adopted a large capital works program in an attempt to support the local economy. This area has little impact on rate increases in the current year as works are funded from grants and subsidies, developer contributions, loans and council reserves.

“In meeting increased costs such as electricity, water and fuel, council has tried to balance the need to increase rates with targeted efficiency targets.”

Council has endorsed a strategy to reduce the impact on ratepayers by setting efficiency targets of $13 million for the 2009/10 financial year, which means finding savings of over $1 million per month from council’s operational budget.

“This will no doubt be a great challenge, but it is essential that we achieve these targets to maintain financial sustainability,” Cr Thompson said.