Community & Business

28 July, 2023

3.9% rates rise in Douglas budget

A $58 million operational budget, $16.7 million of capital works and a 3.9 per cent rate rise are the main features of Douglas Shire’s 2023-24 Budget.

3.9% rates rise in Douglas budget - feature photo

In his Budget address, Mayor Michael Kerr said the document was a reflection of council’s commitment to progress, sustainability, and the betterment of the community.

“The people of Douglas Shire have faced years of challenges that Covid-19 has brought, and on top of that, the international pressures placed on the economy from the war in Ukraine, unprecedented inflationary stresses, supply shortages and obvious to all accommodation concerns however our community is resilient and has continued to see itself through what gets thrown at us, and continues to come out stronger on the other side,” he said.

But while he acknowledged recent years had taken its toll on the region’s economy, the shire had still experienced good growth and this year’s budget would deliver a $257,000 surplus.

“This growth is allowing us to invest in various sectors, including infrastructure, water supply, community services, and public safety,” he said.

“Our goal is to continue this upward trajectory and create an environment that will foster innovation, attract businesses, and provide opportunities for all residents including places to live.”

Mayor Kerr said council was operating responsibly during tough financial times.  

“Council has no borrowings and is debt free at a time of rising interest rates,” he said.  

“We are currently receiving good interest returns on investments which is also contributing to today’s positive result.  

“The cost of building materials has increased dramatically in the past 12 months but through responsible spending and by resourcing grants for infrastructure projects we have managed to keep spending at a manageable level.

“The rising cost of living is impacting us all and, like our ratepayers, council is operating within its means.”  

A 3.9 per cent rise in annual rates was handed down, which equates to a rise of $49 a year for properties in Category 1, while ratepayers with investment properties face an increase $144 per year. 

The council also announced an increase of 4.5 per cent in utility charges, but Mayor Kerr said council had kept increases in both rates and services well below CPI.

“I believe that we have managed to get the best result we can to keep the broader general rate rise for residents as low as possible whilst committing to maintaining service levels,” he said.

Mayor Kerr said that through strong advocacy and working with the Local Government Association of Queensland and the Australian Local Government Association, changes in Federal Government Grant funding to councils had “greatly contributed to placing this council in a much stronger position for future years”.

He said in terms of infrastructure, council had this year allocated a significant portion of this budget to improve the shire’s roads, pedestrian paths, bridges and the ferry operations.

“Come November when the budget review is completed, we will have a better idea of the potential for looking at progressing some of the long-awaited projects that our community has been asking for,” Mayor Kerr said.

“Our shire’s infrastructure is the backbone of our economy, and by investing in its maintenance and expansion, we can ensure the smooth flow of goods and services, as well as the safety and convenience of our residents. 

“Transportation is also closely linked to tourism, something our shire’s economy relies on. It is also crucial for emergency response and disaster management during times of crisis.  

“Water supply is another key area of focus in this budget. Long-term water security for the Douglas Shire is considered critical and this year’s budget which sees $3.6 million invested into water supply is a reflection of those needs.”

The budget also allows for $1.7 million for wastewater infrastructure.


Most Popular