Council in the Black for 7th consecutive budget surplus
Published on 12 June 2019
Rockhampton Regional Council’s de-amalgamation debt legacy has dropped to record lows with more than $41.5 million now paid off.
In handing the draft 2019-20 Budget to Councillors, Mayor Margaret Strelow said it was incredibly satisfying to see the impact that strong financial management can have.
“This legacy of de-amalgamation continues to cost us dearly, and the longer the debt goes on the more it will cost us,” Mayor Strelow said.
“So it is pleasing to announce that, in just over six years, we have reduced our debt by $41.5 million, around a quarter of our inherited amalgamation/de-amalgamation debt.
“Our total debt as at 30th of June this year, is just under $120 million with around $50 million cash at bank. We will keep chipping away at repaying the debt, maintaining a surplus position in our budget (that means we are not cutting essential services or maintenance), and keeping our rates as low as we possibly can.
“This is also the 7th successive year that Council has reported a surplus budget, which is proof of a culture of diligence and solid budget management.
“I really want to take a moment to recognise just how far we have come.
“At de-amalgamation it was predicted that, without taking action, the cost of splitting would leave us insolvent within two years.
“Our current ten year plan was assessed by the Department of Local Government, and - after assessing our short and medium term capacity and making judgments about our long term viability - the report concluded that we had the appropriate capacity to manage core business risks.
“This might sound like faint praise, but considering the scale of Council and the challenges that we have had, the result is a testament to the solid financial management of our team and the backbone shown by the elected council.
“We made the hard calls and have kept a tight grip on the purse strings and, as a result, we are now in the strongest financial position we have been in since de-amalgamation.
“The most important thing we need to continue from here is to maintain the same level of discipline while delivering the core services of local government and investing in opportunities for growth in our community,” Mayor Strelow said.