Toowoomba rates will rise by 5 per cent this year as the Council struggles with rising costs and the need to raise $270 million to upgrade Cressbrook Dam

June 25, 2024

Toowoomba ratepayers will face a 5 per cent increase in their general rates and a new levy after the Council handed down its 2024-25 Budget on Tuesday morning.

Mayor Geoff McDonald said the Budget had to accommodate a 30 per cent rise in the Council’s insurance costs and a 1 per cent increase in electricity charges, which will add $1 million in expenses.

The TRC will also be required to fund a $270 million safety upgrade to Cressbrook Dam, which must be completed by the end of next year.

While the Council has repeatedly sought extra funding from the State Government to help pay the project’s costs, none has so far been forthcoming.

Mayor McDonald said the $703.6 million Budget would allow the TRC to maintain and upgrade existing facilities and services while planning a brighter future for current and successive generations.

“We remain mindful of the cost-of-living pressures that continue to challenge families right across the Toowoomba region,” Mayor McDonald said.

“That is why we’ve delivered a cautious and considered financial plan with a responsible rate rise.

“The general rate will rise 5 per cent with the majority of urban residential ratepayers facing an average increase of $3.91 per week, and keeping in mind that changes will of course depend on individual circumstances.

“We’ve reviewed and streamlined the levies we apply to each property, putting a pause on two levies and replacing them with a Public Transport Levy. This new levy has been introduced taking into consideration community feedback over many years.

“The new levy will give council greater leverage in advocating to the State Government on improvements that are much needed to our region’s public transport network.”

The TRC will also spend $231 million on capital projects over the coming year.

The include building the Kearneys Spring Clubhouse and amenities building, continuing the roll-out of smart water meters, replacing timber bridges in key rural locations, upgrading formed and unformed lower order roads, renewing playground equipment in parks and undertaking a business case exploring options for the future location and functionality of the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery.

“We’re spending $472 million on our core council operations to deliver essential services to our residents ensuring waste is collected, parks and gardens are maintained, libraries and recreation facilities remain open and that clean, safe drinking water flows from the taps of homes across the Region,” the Mayor said.

“Council remains committed to implementing a responsible and calculated financial approach in its Budget planning and delivery and has budgeted for a surplus of more than $937,000 this coming financial year.

“Council’s obligation to maintain our existing infrastructure and our ability to manage our $6.2 billion asset base across 13,000sq km is a key performance indicator by which we are evaluated by the Queensland Treasury Corporation, which has recently affirmed our financial position as ‘sound’ with a ‘neutral’ outlook.”

A total of $98.2 million will be set aside in the Budget for capital works projects across the region, along with a further $22.5 million for the ongoing Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements Flood Recovery Program and $110.6 million for the Cressbrook Dam Safety Improvement Project.

“Cost increases to materials and services are having significant impacts on our operations, with council continuing to shoulder many price rises on behalf of our ratepayers,” the Mayor said.

“Council’s overall operational and capital expenditure parameters are based on our 10-year Long Term Financial Forecast which is not only adopted by council, but overseen by the Department of Local Government, the Queensland Treasury Corporation and Queensland Audit Office.

“Despite the continued decrease in sustainable funding for local governments right across Australia, we are confident that our cautious financial approach, and our planning for the future, means that our Region will continue to grow and prosper.”

Footnote: Western Downs Regional Council handed down its own Budget last Thursday, issuing a 3.9 per cent increase in the general rate and a 3.54 per cent increase in utility charges.


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