The Kilkivan-Goomeri section of the rail trail will undergo a $223,000 upgrade (Photo: Rail Trails Australia)

July 29, 2020

Goomeri’s swimming pool, which has been closed since January, will receive a $509,000 upgrade to ensure it reopens in time for this year’s swimming season.

News of the upgrade was announced on Wednesday when Gympie Regional Council handed down its 2020-21 Budget.

Other proposed Goomeri improvements include an $85,000 upgrade to the skate park; $250,000 for land acquisition for a sewage treatment plant; and $50,000 for effluent irrigation.

Kilkivan will receive $375,000 for Stage 2 of the Kilkivan Equestrian Centre; $5000 for barbecue upgrades in Lions Park; and a $5000 upgrade to the town centre gardens.

Both towns will also share the benefits of a $223,000 upgrade of Gympie’s portion of the Kilkivan-Kingaroy Rail Trail.

Lower Wonga Hall will receive a $200,000 upgrade; Woolooga’s Memorial Precinct will benefit from a $140,000 spend; and the Elgin Vale Sawmill will get a $50,000 renewal.

Some of these projects will be funded from State Government Works For Queensland grants.

The $141.9 million Budget will also benefit all rural ratepayers with a zero per cent rates rise this year to compensate them for steep rises over the past two years, largely fuelled by big increases in property valuations.

However, residential ratepayers will face an average 3 per cent rate rise.

The Council will retain its $160-a-year pensioner discount, along with a 10 per cent discount for early rates bill payments.

Gympie Mayor Glen Hartwig said the 2020-21 Council budget would “go some way to help alleviate some of Council’s significant financial strain”.

He admitted the Budget process had been difficult.

“There is no shying away from the fact this Budget was extremely challenging,” Mayor Hartwig said.

“As a Council we have done our best to claw back some of the deficit we inherited.

“This Budget focuses on financial repair and the return to core services as needed by our community as we restore, rebuild to bring us back to a strong financial foundation.”

He said Councillors had to make some extremely tough calls and were aware there would  be some in the community who would be affected more than others by the Budget.

“To those residents I say, this Council has done its best given what we have to work with,” he said.

“There have been a number of unprecedented challenges, like COVID-19 and the economic impact it has had.

“We are getting back to basics and this Budget has the ratepayer firmly at front of mind.

“Our objective is to make sure we are delivering our core services well, and in a financially responsible way.”

Mayor Hartwig said the “Back To Basics” budget would deliver a $3.45 million operational deficit in 2020-21 but promised a return to surplus in 2021-22.

Gympie Regional Council CEO Shane Gray, who was appointed on July 2, said the Budget would provide a balance between sensible spending and the effective delivery of services.

“Councillors have spent a lot of time on this budget and while difficult in its creation, it will provide a solid financial base for the organisation,” he said.

“I understand there has been a lot of interest in the community about the state of our finances of late and rightly so.

“The Council and organisation have worked hard to deliver a Budget which focuses on core services for the resident and rate payer,” he said.

Related articles:

External link: Gympie Regional Council 2020-21 Budget

Goomeri’s swimming pool was hit hard by the 2013 floods and has suffered ongoing problems ever since … but a $500,000 spend in Gympie Regional Council’s 2020-21 Budget promises to get everything fixed

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