Council approves Budget for 2013-14

Sunshine Coast Mayor - Mark Jamieson
Sunshine Coast Mayor – Mark Jamieson

A budget for the future of the Sunshine Coast
Sunshine Coast Council has adopted a budget that gets the balance right between cutting costs and giving businesses the confidence to invest, which creates jobs.
The $538 million budget includes a Capital Works Program worth $109 million, which focusses on renewing existing assets and delivering quality infrastructure and services to the community.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said it was always going to be a tough budget due to unprecedented challenges.
“This is a budget for the future; we’ve balanced the books despite the financial fallout from de-amalgamation, rising costs and falling revenue,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“This budget is all about getting the fundamentals right—we’re reducing debt and increasing cash, which allows us to repay our loans and invest in infrastructure.
“We know some people are finding it difficult to make ends meet and we have done everything we can to keep rates and waste increases as low as possible.
“That includes an organisation review to improve council’s efficiency and effectiveness, which will lead to job losses in the organisation.
“Rates will go up by 5 per cent and waste charges will increase by 7.4 per cent—that means an average ratepayer will pay $1.22 extra a week.”
Highlights of the budget include:
·         $109 million Capital Works Program
·         $11.8 million for economic development
·         $37.5 million for roads and bridges
·         $13.2 million for libraries and galleries
·         $29 million for environmental programs
·         $7.8 million for events and grants
·         Levies unchanged
·         Retention of the early bird and pensioner discounts
Deputy Mayor and Finance Portfolio Councillor Chris Thompson said the budget prepares the region for the promising times ahead, led by projects such as the Oceanside Health Hub.
“Council has maintained its focus on economic development so the region makes the most of its existing opportunities and attracts new ones.”
A budget for the future of roads and a new regional CBD
The budget aims to deliver quality roads and waste services, and a new business centre in Maroochydore.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said the $538 million budget includes a Capital Works Program worth $109 million, which focuses on renewing existing assets and delivering new infrastructure to the community.
“This budget is all about getting the fundamentals right; we’re reducing debt and increasing cash which allows us to repay our loans and pay for infrastructure,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Council is getting the balance right between cutting costs and investing in the future—that includes a Capital Works Program which provides the right infrastructure for the region’s needs.
“Over the next 12 months council will continue its drive towards better roads and bridges, managing our waste and transport, revitalising some communities and creating a new regional CBD.”
Highlights of the $109 million Capital Works Program include:
·         $37.5 million for roads and bridges
·         $6 million for land acquisitions to create the new regional CBD at Maroochydore
·         $4 million for the streetscape revitalisation at Beerwah
·         $9.6 million for waste management
·         $1.7 million for the replacement and road upgrade at Moy Pocket Bridge
·         $2.2 million for the Nambour Resource Recovery Centre construction
·         $1.8 million for the transit hub construction at Maroochydore
·         $4.1 million for construction of Evans Street at Maroochydore.
Mayor Jamieson said it was always going to be a tough budget due to unprecedented challenges, including the financial fallout from de-amalgamation, rising costs and falling revenue.
“We know some people are finding it difficult to make ends meet and we have done everything we can to keep rates and waste increases as low as possible.
“That includes an organisation review to improve council’s efficiency and effectiveness, which will lead to job losses in the organisation.
“Rates will go up by 5 per cent and waste charges will increase by 7.4 per cent, which means an average ratepayer will pay an $1.22 extra a week.”
Council keeps a lid on rubbish prices – and the mulch is free
Sunshine Coast Council will remain one of the lowest-charging councils for a wheelie bin service following today’s adoption of the 2013/14 budget.
Deputy Mayor and Finance and Business Portfolio Councillor Chris Thompson said while this had been a tough budget in the wake of de-amalgamation, rising costs and reduced revenue, council is still delivering cost effective, quality services to residents.
“We have managed to keep the cost for servicing wheelie bins as low as possible—domestic customers with a 240L wheelie bin will pay $17 extra per year,” Cr Thompson said.
“A trip to the tip with a small box trailer of rubbish will cost an extra $3.
“We know some people in our community are finding it difficult to make ends meet, which is why we are doing everything we can to keep costs as low as possible.
“The increase for the average resident will be $1.22 per week for rates and waste.
“Some great news for householders – from 1 July, residents will now also be able to collect up to three cubic metres of free mulch when visiting the landfill, regardless of whether they have a green waste service.
“This service was previously only available free for those who had a garden waste bin or were delivering green waste to the landfill and a one cubic metre limit applied.
“Waste services are also on track to be more sustainable in the long-term, with council moving towards a full-cost pricing model across the board.
“This will ensure council can provide the region with essential waste services and infrastructure into the future.”
A budget to promote our lifestyle into the future
Sunshine Coast Council has adopted a budget which will ensure the Sunshine Coast remains a great place to live and residents continue to enjoy quality services.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said the Sunshine Coast has a lifestyle second to none—and council wants to see it stay that way.
“This is a budget for the future; we’ve balanced the books despite the financial fallout from de-amalgamation, rising costs and falling revenue,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“This allows us to provide quality services to the community and continue down the path of economic, environmental and lifestyle sustainability.”
Council’s budget supports the community and our way of life:
·         $29.2 million for environment programs
·         $10.3 million for parks, gardens and beaches
·         $13.2 million for libraries and galleries
·         $6.2 million for streetscapes
·         $4.4 million for community grants and partnership programs
·         $4.1 million for public transport initiatives
·         $3.4 million for major events and festivals
·         $2.9 million for community facilities
·         $14 million support for aquatic centres and sports facilities.
“This budget is all about getting the fundamentals right – we’re reducing debt and increasing cash, which allows us to repay our loans and provide quality services and facilities.
“We love our environment, our parks, our gardens and our beaches; this budget makes sure these all continue to be an important part of the Sunshine Coast lifestyle.
“Council will continue to provide substantial financial assistance to major events and festivals that reflect who we are and also provide a great economic boost to our region.
“Libraries and galleries provide places to learn, meet and inspire; they will receive more than $13 million to continue to play those important roles.
“Getting outdoors plays an important role in our region, which is why council has provided $14 million to support aquatic and leisure centres, showgrounds and other sports facilities.”
A budget for the future of our economy
Sunshine Coast Council has adopted a budget that invests in the long-term economic future of the region, making it easier to do business, seize opportunities and create jobs.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said it was always going to be a tough budget due to unprecedented challenges.
“This is a budget for the future; we’ve balanced the books despite the financial fallout from de-amalgamation, rising costs and falling revenue,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“This has allowed us to provide $11.8 million for economic development to help the region harness existing and future job-creating opportunities.
“In the next financial year, we’ll build on some of the major changes made in the first 12 months of this council including reducing fees, cutting red tape and selling the natural advantages of doing business here.
“This budget will keep that momentum going.”
Highlights for 2013/14 include:
·         electronic lodgement of development applications, making it easier, more efficient and less costly for all parties—applicants, the development industry and council—to do business
·         roll out of the region’s major and regional events strategy to better position the region as one of Australia’s premier regional event destinations
·         delivery of the Sunshine Coast Economic Development Strategy, which will direct economic decisions and actions on the Coast for the next 20 years
·         no increases to planning fees and charges.
“Creating a sustainable economy is much more achievable with agreed goals and priorities and all parties working together to sell the region’s message and strengths—a great example is the Sunshine Coast Economic Development Strategy which will launch later in the year,” Cr Jamieson said.
“The strategy has been developed in close collaboration with local business and industry organisations and includes a comprehensive five year action plan.
“Council’s responsibility is to get the policy settings and economic levers right so business can thrive, jobs are created and new investment occurs—and not get in the way of business unnecessarily.
“The latest annual Business Confidence survey shows business confidence in 2013 has increased by 8 per cent against 2012 and 2011 with a 5 per cent jump in businesses saying they will increase their spending significantly over the next six months.
“There is still a long way to go—the economic environment will not change overnight and we have to be prepared for the long-haul and  continue to remain focussed on our clear goals.”
Key actions and outcomes from the 2013/14 budget

In 12/13 council: Outcome
Scrapped fees for pre-lodgement meetings.
Reduced application fees by 5% for all Commercial, Business and Industrial land uses.
Reduced application fees for seven selected land use types by 25% by means of a fee rebate when the use commences within 2 years.
Pre-lodgement meetings have increased by 24%.
We’ve seen a 64% increase in Material Change of Use applications for the first part of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012 and a 10% reduction in negotiated decision requests.        
Completed the first health and medical services investment mission to Sydney in October 2012 and the first investment and business mission to China in May 2013 with another planned for September. An increased awareness of the Sunshine Coast and the abundance of investment opportunities it has to offer. We have already hosted two delegations from China as a result.
Introduced its ‘Build it and Benefit Scheme’ in May 2013, which offers up to 50% reduction in infrastructure charges. Expected to get tens of millions of dollars of building work off the shelves and on the ground.
Refocussed the Local Business Support Program to help local business pursue opportunities associated with the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital, including:
·         delivery of extensive information sessions across the region
·         provision of targeted information and education sessions on preparation of tenders, forming joint ventures etc. 
Council influenced the decision by Lend Lease to break down the works packages into over 250 smaller packages, providing more (and better) opportunities for local businesses to competitively tender for these works. 
Sessions attended by over 1500 local businesses—36 of the 66 tenders awarded so far have gone to local businesses.
Approved its first International Business Development Program. This provides the actions to help expand the export capability of the region, grow the region’s access to key markets and start to position it to attract new investment.  
Attracted Tough Mudder and the 70.3 Half Ironman series events to the Coast – two examples of council’s efforts to expand the region’s range of major event experiences. Will increase visitor numbers and bring dollars to the Coast from outside the region.
Finalised a new Rural Futures Strategy.
 
Provide a basis for clear economic opportunities for the Hinterland while preserving and enhancing the liveability and natural settings that make the Hinterland a highly attractive place to live and visit.
Continued to pursue new business investment into the region to build greater depth into the economy and provide more employment opportunities. 
 
Establishment of Stellar Asia Pacific regional facility in Maroochydore – 280 jobs.
Attraction of Hearty Foods to the Big Pineapple.
Retention of the iconic Wimmers Soft Drinks in Cooroy.