South Burnett Mayor Brett Otto handed down his first Council Budget on Wednesday morning

July 15, 2020

Most South Burnett ratepayers will pay no more for their general rates in 2020-21 – although some charges will rise.

This was the good news in South Burnett Regional Council’s annual Budget handed down on Wednesday.

However, property owners who received large increases in their land valuation prior to last year’s Budget will see their individual rates bills go up.

These landholders are midway through a three-year process adopted by the previous Council to ease in rises that followed on from the Valuer-General’s reassessment of their property values.

This increased Council income will be balanced across total rates by valuation decreases and other adjustments in the “rate in the dollar”.

Mayor Brett Otto told Wednesday’s Budget meeting that overall, Council’s rates income would remain the same as the last Budget except for any new ratepayers that came on stream (via subdivisions etc).

This zero increase in the general rate means Council will be forgoing $1.4 million in revenue.

Savings had been achieved by across-the-board cuts to project budgets and a decision not to fill some positions in the coming 12 months that had become vacant through natural attrition.

The “zero increase” position troubled several councillors who expressed concerns in their Budget speeches.

Deputy Mayor Gavin Jones, in particular, expressed fears the zero rise in Council’s rates revenue would inevitably end up in lesser services to the community.

The Budget meeting committed to a December review of Council’s financial position as well as a review of differential rating categories and Council’s asset holdings.

While most basic rates will remain the same as last year, several charges will be rising.

There will be a $12 increase in the Waste Management Levy (up from $150.50 to $162.50 per year) and a $1 rise in the Community Rescue and Evacuation Levy (up from $4 to $5 per year).

Annual water access charges will also rise by $12.50 (up from $611.50 to $624 per year) and the basic Tier 1 water consumption charge will increase 3c per kilolitre (up from $80.08 to $81.64 per year for an average 52kl usage).

Sewerage charges will rise by an average $14.30 for a first pedestal (up from $724.70 to $739 per year) and a waste collection service will cost an extra $3 per year (up from $165 to $168).

These increases will add an average $44 to most residential rates bills where ratepayers receive a waste collection service, water and sewerage.

However, residents connected to the Proston Rural Water Supply Scheme will only pay an extra $36.56 in 2020-21 because that scheme uses untreated (ie. non-potable) water.

Residents on rural or rural residential blocks who do not receive water, sewerage or waste collection services will be limited to a $13 annual rise to cover levy increases.

* * *

South Burnett Regional Council is planning a number of major upgrades across the region . . .

Where It’s Going (2020-23)

The Budget predicts Council will receive $50.092m in rates, levies and charges in the 2020-21 financial year, rising to $51.633m in 2021-22 and $53.230m in 2022-23.

Capital works spending on buildings is predicted to blow out in 2021-22 from $5.825m per year in 2020-21 to $11.849m – including $10.5m for a major refurbishment of the Kingaroy swimming pool complex – before dropping back to $1.432m in 2022-23.

A reserve of $500,000 has also been set aside in the 2020-21 and 2021-22 budgets for the Kingaroy Pool project plus $250,000 for concept plans.

Spending on water infrastructure is tipped to rise from $3m in 2020-21 to $8.785m in 2021-22 – including $5m to build two new reservoirs for Kingaroy and $1.2m for a new reservoir at Proston – before dropping back to $1.19m in 2022-23.

Council plans to borrow $5m from Treasury in 2021-22 for the Kingaroy water infrastructure.

Another major project budgeted for is safety upgrades at Gordonbrook Dam.

This upgrade – which will require another State Government loan – won’t increase the overall volume of the dam but will improve spillway capacity to prevent dam failure during extreme floods, ie. a 1-in-10,000 year event, as required by legislation.

Council has budgeted for additional Treasury borrowings of $11.8m in 2022-23 for the Gordonbrook project.

Spending on sewerage assets has been set at $3.735m for 2020-21, dropping to $1.895m in 2021-22 before lifting again to $4.632m in 2022-23.

However, Council’s forward projections predict a substantial decrease in capital works spending on roads after 2020-21, returning spending to levels prior to the current renewal program.

More than $22.523 million has been budgeted for roads in 2020-21, dropping to $10.128m in 2021-22 and $10.455m in 2022-23.

Funding for gravel resheeting will drop from $4.069m in 2020-21 to $3.709m in 2022-23; but the biggest changes are projected in the bitumen resealing / rehabilitation budget: $15.570m in 2020-21 drops to $6.253m in 2021-22 and $6.542m in 2022-23.

Good news for motorists is a proposal to install a roundabout at the troubled Knight Street intersection in Kingaroy.

Council is also planning to take out a $15m loan in 2025-26 to replace the Murgon Wastewater Treatment Facility, which is reaching the end of its useful life, taking Council’s projected additional borrowings over the next 10 years to $31.8 million.

Replacement of plant and vehicles is budgeted at $2.315m in 2020-21, rising to $2.657m in 2021-22 and $2.685m in 2022-23.

* * *

Budget Highlights

Highlights across 2020-21 include:

  • $6.35m for Kingaroy CBD revitalisation
  • $4m Niagara Road reconstruction
  • $1.05m for sewer works in Nanango
  • $2.387m for sewer works in Kingaroy
  • $650,000 for Murgon CBD footpaths Stage 2 & 3
  • $600,000 for Alford St carpark, Kingaroy
  • $580,000 for Blackbutt CBD footpaths
  • $350,000 for the Maidenwell Transfer Station
  • $200,000 to replace the plant room at Murgon Swimming Pool
  • $191,000 for new amenities at Yallakool Tourist Park
  • $180,000 for a pedestrian bridge at Taromeo
  • $180,000 for Nanango State School pedestrian bridge
  • $125,000 for air-conditioning at Kingaroy admin building
  • $100,000 for playground renewal in Lions Park, Kingaroy
  • $94,000 for boundary fences at Wondai and Kingaroy aerodromes
  • $90,000 for refurbishments at Nanango Swimming Pool
  • $82,500 for upgrades at Boondooma Dam public areas
  • $80,000 for a shade shelter at Blackbutt Skate Park
  • $60,000 for solar heating at Nanango Swimming Pool
  • $59,000 for apron seal at Kingaroy aerodrome
  • $34,500 for an upgrade of the Maidenwell toilets
  • $30,500 for carpark sealing and footpath at Apex Park, Kingaroy
  • $28,000 for a new columbarium wall at Blackbutt Cemetery
  • $28,000 to replace garden beds in Memorial Park, Kingaroy
  • $25,000 for Boondooma Homestead restoration

As well, Council plans to establish a dedicated Asset Management Steering Committee to oversee a review and revaluation of all the SBRC’s current building, water and wastewater assets.

* * *

Works For Queensland

Two of the Expo 88 Artbusters’ statues which will be coming to the South Burnett (Photos: Shirley McDougall)

State Government-funded W4Q 2020-21 projects include:

  • $250,000 for beautification of Somerset Street / Walter Road, Kingaroy
  • $230,000 for building painting (across region)
  • $220,000 for roof replacements (across region)
  • $215,000 to move and upgrade the bunkhouse at Boondooma Dam
  • $200,000 for Expo 88 statue installation
  • $175,000 for a portable grandstand at Wondai Showgrounds
  • $175,000 for building security systems (across region)
  • $160,000 for air-conditioning and windows at the Nanango Cultural Centre
  • $150,000 for Kingaroy Forecourt and car park CCTV
  • $150,000 for flooring renewals (across region)
  • $150,000 for park tables and shelters (across region)
  • $140,000 for renewal of the Murgon Squash Courts
  • $120,000 for Pioneer Park playground renewal, Nanango
  • $100,000 to improve drainage at Coronation Park, Wondai
  • $100,000 for playground renewal at Reg McCallum Park, Nanango
  • $80,000 for bore and tanks at the public amenities at Durong
  • $80,000 for amenities at Youth Park, Kingaroy
  • $75,000 for boat ramp repairs at Yallakool
  • $75,000 for path replacement and landscaping at QEII Park, Murgon
  • $70,000 for Scott Street carpark shadesail, Nanango
  • $50,000 for runway lighting upgrade at Wondai aerodrome
  • $50,000 for playground shadesails at Proston
  • $50,000 for Butter Factory Park all-abilities playground
  • $50,000 for Wondai skate park upgrade
  • $40,000 to upgrade the tennis courts at Yallakool and Boondooma Dam
  • $25,000 for a new barbecue shelter at Apex Park, Kingaroy
  • $25,000 for refurbishment of the Glendon Street toilets, Kingaroy
  • $20,000 for a bore at Boondooma Homestead
  • $20,000 for park signs
  • $15,000 for a dump point at Proston
  • $10,000 for a footpath at Wondai Museum

* * *

Drought Communities Program

Federal Government-funded 2020-21 DCP projects include:

  • $150,000 for Bunya Mountains footpath and carparking
  • $95,000 for Kumbia School to Francis Street footpath
  • $90,000 for hall building works (across region)
  • $85,000 for shade shelters at Butter Factory Park and Pioneer Park, Nanango
  • $80,000 for shade shelter at Blackbutt skate park
  • $75,000 for Dingo Creek carpark upgrade, Wondai
  • $65,000 for Nanango streetscape refurbishment
  • $60,000 for Hood Street kerb & channel, Proston
  • $56,000 for Kingaroy Town Hall floor refurbishment
  • $40,000 for Maidenwell main street upgrade
  • $43,000 for painting at Kingaroy Heritage Museum
  • $36,000 for upgrades to the Kingaroy and Wondai SES buildings
  • $35,000 for Apex Lookout refurbishment, Kingaroy
  • $10,000 for rail trail at Memerambi

* * *

Future Projects

Future projects mentioned in the SBRC Budget projections include 300,000 to re-roof Blackbutt Memorial Hall

Future projects listed in the SBRC Budget papers include:

  • $2.5m for Nanango wastewater treatment plant reconfiguration (2022-23)
  • $1.6m for sewer relining (across region 2022-23)
  • $945,000 for sewer replacement and upgrades in Haly Street, Kingaroy (2021-22)
  • $674,383 for trenches at Nanango and Kingaroy waste transfer stations (2021-22)
  • $510,000 for sewer trunk upgrade, River Road, Kingaroy (2021-22)
  • $417,000 for squash courts, bathroom refurbishment and painting at PCYC (2021-22)
  • $300,000 to re-roof Blackbutt Memorial Hall (2022-23)
  • $300,000 to replace air conditioning at Kingaroy Town Common Hall (2022-23)
  • $230,000 for new disability amenities at Kumbia Apex Park (2021-22)
  • $150,000 for refurbishment of amenities at Rotary Park, Kingaroy (2022-23)
  • $102,000 for residence / kiosk refurbishments at Boondooma Dam (2022-23)
  • $91,000 for new amenities at Murgon skate park (2022-23)
  • $90,000 for replacement of amenities at Pioneer Park, Nanango (2022-23)
  • $80,000 for Murgon Town Hall bathroom fitout (2022-23)
  • $65,000 for Proston Playgroup projects (2022-23)
  • $52,000 for expansion of Kingaroy Cemetery (2021-22)
  • $51,000 for Adermann Park refurbishments, Kingaroy (2021-22)
  • $50,000 for changeroom refurbishments at Wondai Sportsgrounds (2021-22)
  • $46,000 for refurbishments at Wondai skate park (2022-23)
  • $42,000 for Kingaroy skate park refurbishments (2021-22)
  • $20,000 for restumping McAllister Hall at Wondai Showgrounds (2021-22)

[UPDATED]

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