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Community & Business

1 December, 2023

Glowing report card for shire

A FOUR-year report card on the achievements of Mareeba Shire Council has been released, showing a pattern of balanced budgets and a spend of more than $68 million on upgrading and maintaining sporting and recreational facilities, the transport network and the arts and culture sector.

By Robyn Holmes

Water main replacement works are ongoing, with council already replacing around 20km in asbestos cement mains to date.
Water main replacement works are ongoing, with council already replacing around 20km in asbestos cement mains to date.

Councillors were beaming with pride as they endorsed the Community Outcomes Report and were glowing in their acknowledgement of the efforts of council staff in achieving the results.

Mayor Angela Toppin said the past four years had included some challenging times, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic which had affected council’s operations with interruptions to the supply chain and the rising costs of goods and services.

“Despite these challenges, the council has achieved significant outcomes for the community,” she said.

“Some of the highlights include delivering balanced budgets, the opening of the Cedric Davies Community Hub and the Tom Gilmore Aviation Precinct, the implementation of the Parks and Open Spaces strategy and action plan, and advocacy for issues important to the shire around safety, roads and health.”

Major projects included the restoration of the John Doyle bridge in Mareeba, the construction of a new animal management facility, the completion of the $1.1 million Chillagoe water project, the ongoing upgrade of the Granite Creek sewerage pump station, and the construction of a new cemetery for Kuranda.

Mayor Toppin said council had been successful in attracting $62 million in government grants from 2019-23 which had funded many projects throughout the shire including Mareeba’s new Splash Park and the replacement of asbestos cement water mains.

The report states that around 20km of water mains have so far been replaced as part of a 10-year program.

“We are also a very financially stable council and have received successive unqualified audits from the Queensland Audit office and that’s something we can all be very proud of,” Mayor Toppin said.

The report also shows that more than 105 not-for-profit groups and clubs benefited from $526,000 in grants provided by council, and over $186,000 had been awarded for arts, cultural and heritage projects.

Council had spent more than $13.4 million on maintaining and upgrading sport and recreational facilities and halls, but the major expenditure was for the shire’s transport network, with $54 million spent on maintaining, renewing and upgrading 2300km of roads, drainage infrastructure and footpaths, including grading an average of 1400km of roads each year.

The opening last year of council’s Buy Back shop was also highlighted, as was the shire’s recycling activities which included 2961 tonnes of scrap metal, 111 tonnes of fertiliser bags, 281 tonnes of tyres and 223 tonnes of batteries.

“I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the councillors who have worked hard to help deliver our successful endeavours, with a special thank you to our previous Mayor Tom Gilmore, whose dedication and insights helped shape some of the projects that were achieved in this period,” Mayor Toppin said.

She also thanked chief executive officer Peter Franks for his guidance during the past four years and staff who had “shown dedication and diligence at every level of the organisation which has been a major contribution to delivering the positive outcomes in this report.”

“The fostering of collaborative partnerships and maintaining of accountable governance to promote the prosperity and liveability of the shire is core to the operations of this council and are also appropriately showcased throughout this report,” Mayor Toppin said.

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