Council budget … giveth and taketh away

SUNSHINE Coast Council endorsed its $816 million budget for 2021/22 on Thursday, June 24, describing it as “creating a safer, secure future for our community”.
On the good side, the budget has no increase in basic rates, gives an increased pensioner concession and they will re-establish the $5 million disaster rehabilitation reserve.
On the other hand, the council has ditched the popular 5% early payment discount, increased waste collection fees and increased the environment levy.

Mayor Mark Jamieson said the budget would continue to support the region’s recovery from the impacts of COVID-19 by investing $268 million in job-creating local infrastructure projects, supporting pensioners through increased concessions and increasing spending on frontline services for the community.
“We have delivered a considered budget focused on local recovery with no increase to the minimum general rate, which is good news for a majority of ratepayers,” Mr Jamieson said.
“Our council is also responding to what matters most to our community by increasing our investment in on-the-ground services, such as parks and gardens maintenance, community facilities, sporting precincts and providing health and wellbeing programs – all of which will help more people, more often.
“The re-establishment of the $5 million disaster rehabilitation reserve and the increase in on-the-ground services will be funded by removing the 5% discount for on-time rates payment.
“This is a financially prudent approach to support our growing community, while avoiding an across-the-board increase in the general rate,” he said.

The early payment discount on the minimum rate is $63.45. Scrapping the discount is estimated to benefit council by up to $10 million a year.
With $5 million of that earmarked for disaster relief, the remaining $5 million will be a windfall to council’s coffers.
The Mayor said the council recognised the financial difficulties being experienced by some in the community.
“Anyone experiencing financial hardship only needs to contact council before their rates are due to arrange payment by instalments over a six-month period, without interest being charged,” he said.
Mr Jamieson said that pensioners would benefit from a 14% increase in their pensioner rate concession.
“Sole homeowners on full pensions will receive a $262 concession, an increased benefit of $32,” he said.
“Those receiving a part pension will also benefit, ranging from $9-$25, taking their concession to between $74 and $205, depending on whether they own the property solely or jointly.”

The $4 increase in the environment levy will raise $600,000, which the council says will be used to fight weeds.
“This will entail targeted weed management demonstration programs, building community, industry and other agency partnerships, and a focus on exploring and trialling new technology to improve identifying and managing weeds,” Mr Jamieson said.

To account for increased contractor expenses, the cost of collecting a standard 240L domestic wheelie bin will increase by $7.70 from $309.10 to $316.80.
The heritage levy will remain unchanged at $13, as will the transport levy, which stays at $44.
The contentious transport levy raises $6.5 million a year, with most being used for the council’s mass transit agenda focusing on the coastal strip.

Smaller amounts are allocated to broader programs such as implementing the five-year travel change behaviour program; improving safe walk-up and cycle opportunities to selected bus stops; supporting and monitoring the new trial Ridescore Active Schools Program at selected schools; supporting the Council Link service for eligible residents travelling to their nearest centre; continued Flexilink services; and the Kenilworth Community Transport Service.

Fast facts
• Rates will remain the same
• 5% discount for on-time rates payment removed
• Environment levy increases by $4 to $80
• Transport levy remains the same at $44
• Heritage levy remains the same at $13
• Collection of the 240L domestic wheelie bin increases by $7.70 to $316.80
• Pensioners receive a 14% increase in their pensioner rate concession

Capital works highlights for Division 1 locally
DIVISION 1 councillor Rick Baberowski said council’s $816 million budget included a diverse and valuable mix of projects with the important aim to create a safer, secure future across the region. Starting the detailed design of a significant two-lane upgrade to Johnston Road Glass House Mountains, and upgrades to numerous roads, playgrounds and parks are among the Sunshine Coast Council 2021/22 budget highlights for Division 1.
• $900,000 towards planning and detailed design of Johnston Road upgrade to two lanes, Glass House Mountains
• $200,000 for signage and trail upgrades for Glass House Mountains Regional Trail
• $168,325 to resurface Old Gympie Road, Glass House Mountains
• $140,000 to rehabilitate the bridge on Kings Road, Glass House Mountains
• $100,000 to renew playground equipment and the shelter at Newell Park, Beerwah
• $50,000 to widen the road seal along Kings Road, Glass House Mountains
• $50,000 to design widening of Annie Street, Landsborough
• $50,000 to design widening of Burys Road, Beerwah
• $50,000 towards continued delivery of Landsborough Placemaking Master Plan
• $30,000 to replace the dive blocks at the Beerwah Aquatic Centre
• $30,000 to design an upgrade to the amenities at QCWA Park, Landsborough
• $30,000 to widen Plantation Road, Glass House Mountains
• $20,000 to repaint the external facade of the heritage-listed Bankfoot House building
• $20,000 to upgrade and seal the service road adjacent to Railway Street, Landsborough
• $15,000 to renew Gowen Drive Park Landsborough Playground
• $10,000 to replace the picnic table at Uniting Park, Glass House Mountains
• $10,000 to re-install bollards at Peace Park, Landsborough
• $8000 to refurbish the ash garden at Beerwah Cemetery
• $5000 to replace bollards at Corella Park, Landsborough
• $2000 to rectify drainage issues in the playground at Skippy Park, Landsborough
• $2000 to renew playground equipment at Peace Park, Landsborough

Capital works highlights for Division 5 locally
DIVISION 5 councillor Winston Johnston said keeping our small communities, residents and businesses connected is a top priority, but more importantly is making sure everyone continues to enjoy our unique urban and rural lifestyle.
“That’s why this budget will deliver upgrades, reseals, lane widening, rehabilitations and bridge improvements to a number of roads including the upgrade of Citrus Road at Palmwoods and Daltons Bridge along Eastern Mary River Road Cambroon.”
• $600,000 for stage 3 works to widen the remainder of Glenview Road, Glenview
• $575,000 to upgrade the entry road and car park to the Mooloolah Valley Sports Complex, Mooloolah Valley
• $470,000 for the master planning of Mary Cairncross Ecological Park, Maleny to establish a council-wide destination recreation park/ecological parkland
• $462,000 to upgrade the surface of Mountain View Road between McCarthy Road and Byrne Lane, Maleny
• $359,000 to design and start construction of on-road carparking along Obi Lane South, Maleny
• $250,000 to rehabilitate Daltons Bridge along Eastern Mary River Road, Cambroon
• $200,000 to continue the Maleny Business Centre streetscape planning and design works for Maple Street, Maleny
• $200,000 for Eudlo Streetscape Placemaking Project for Rosebed Street, Eudlo
• $146,000 to continue internal roads upgrades at Maleny Showground, Maleny
• $120,000 to construct a new pathway along Palm Street, Maleny
• $30,000 to install a welcome to Maleny sign
• $20,000 to design a future pathway along Tallowwood Street, Maleny
• $14,000 to remove pine trees on Reesville Road, Reesville
• $10,000 to re-surface the Montville School carpark, Montville
• $10,000 to construct a picnic shelter and table at Cedar Grove, Maleny
• $11,000 to construct two new bench seats at Brand Place Park, Mooloolah

Visit for more information on Sunshine Coast Council’s 2021/22 budget.