Media statement: Wednesday 28 October
The 2019-2020 Annual Report, adopted today, reveals the Council has managed to deliver a decade of surplus budgets despite the emergency costs associated with responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Peter Flannery said it was thanks to prudent fiscal management that the Council was able to provide residents, ratepayers and businesses with a range of relief measures as soon as the crisis hit.
“Being in a sound financial position allowed Council to act immediately by introducing a $15 million emergency stimulus package to assist individuals and industries worst hit by COVID-19,” he said.
“Clearly more will need to be done to get our region and our country back on track, and the Annual Report shows that we have the capacity to do just that.
“We’ve proactively invested millions of dollars into rates relief, community grants, and accelerated works to keep locals employed, as well as refunding food licencing fees to put money back in the pockets of struggling hospitality business owners.
“Through all this, Council delivered one of the most transformative projects our region will ever see - the opening of the University of the Sunshine Coast Moreton Bay campus, as part of the record $655 million 2019-20 Budget.
“The Mill Priority Development Area is expected to support more than 6000 jobs and inject $1 billion into our local economy, putting the entire region in a position to come out of the other side of coronavirus in better shape than ever before.
“Council delivered a $227.4 million capital works program, creating thousands of new local jobs in the 19-20 financial year.
“In the 2019-20 year we welcomed an additional 10,000 residents, built more than 36km of new roads and created 28ha in new parks to ensure the people who live here enjoy efficient transport and an active lifestyle close to natural parks and outdoor amenities.
“We did all this while ramping-up our environmental protections, including the renewal of our contract to Endeavour Veterinary Ecology, who’ve successfully increased the koala population in Petrie by over 22% per annum over the past three years.
“Despite the challenges we all faced last financial year, Council was able to deliver a budget with a strong operating result, and importantly with one of the lowest overall rate increases in SEQ, that has set the region up for success on the other side of COVID-19.
“The years ahead will be tough, but we have proven that we’re a region that triumphs in the face of adversity.”