Whitsunday Regional Council unveiled the 2020/21 budget today. Image: Laura Thomas
Whitsunday Regional Council unveiled the 2020/21 budget today. Image: Laura Thomas

BUDGET BREAKDOWN: What each division gets in 2020-21

WHITSUNDAY Regional Council today unveiled its new budget set to guide the region's development over the next year.

Mayor Andrew Willcox said COVID-19 had played a big part in developing the "back to basics" budget that put an emphasis on renewing pre-existing infrastructure and essential services.

A zero per cent increase in general rates was flagged by Cr Willcox as a big win for the whole region.

However, there were also several division specific projects announced in today's budget.

Take a look at what your division can expect to see over the coming year.

Division 1

Division 1 councillor Jan Clifford said all residents would benefit from rates remaining at the same level.

"I think it's almost a miracle that we have been able to maintain almost a zero (per cent) rate increase for residential and a lot of other rate payers," she said.

Cr Clifford welcomed funding for water infrastructure and pipelines, and said increased water security was a "win for the community", especially after Cyclone Debbie.

"The water security that's going to happen with the new pipeline and the new reservoir is an absolute god send," she said.

Under the new budget, the Shute Harbour marine terminal will be completed and Cr Clifford looked forward to seeing it "return to it's former glory".

Impressions of the Shute Harbour reconstruction, which is set to be completed in June next year. Image: Supplied.
Impressions of the Shute Harbour reconstruction, which is set to be completed in June next year. Image: Supplied.

"Between now the June 30 next year, we'll see the completion of the $54 million restoration of the Shute Harbour transit facility," she said.

"I think it's going to be something that the whole of the Whitsundays will be proud of."

The budget also included almost $350,000 for a mobile movie screen that will be moved across the region for events and cinema evenings.

The screen was originally destined for the lagoon, however due to insurance issues the council resolved to instead invest in equipment that could be moved to ensure protection against the weather.

The budget also included a $30,000 commitment to a new skate bowl in Cannonvale.

 

Division 2

Division 2 Councillor Al Grundy said all residents would benefit from investments into water and waste infrastructure.

The average ratepayer will be charged an extra $1.37 per week as the waste utility charge increases by about 50 cents per week and the recycling charge by about 20 cents.

However, Cr Grundy said this was a small price to pay for reliable services.

"I don't think the general public appreciate how much effort goes into not only the prep of the budget but also the running of the council and the running of the local services," he said.

"Making sure the litter is taken every week from your house, that there's fresh drinking water coming in, that the sewer is pumped out.

"They're all going to set us up for future growth and allow us to grow our community base, and I think in ways they make us a much more liveable place as well."

The budget included a $7.9 million investment into the Cannonvale bulk water pipeline.

Funds were also listed for renewals to the Cannonvale foreshore hall and upgrades to the Cannonvale transfer station.

Impressions of the exterior of the new Proserpine Entertainment Centre. Image: Supplied
Impressions of the exterior of the new Proserpine Entertainment Centre. Image: Supplied

Division 3

Division 3 Councillor John Collins said there were plenty of wins for his ward.

"It's really good for Division 3," he said.

"Obviously we've got the entertainment centre happening (and) the administration building is going to be finished finally.

"It will bring the hundred staff or so back into Proserpine and liven the streets up during lunch time.

"Proserpine's been hanging on to this for three years, and it really needs it and it's going be a great boost for the town."

Cr Collins also looked forward to a $350,000 renewal of the Wilson Beach swimming enclosure.

"I've been fighting hard for this and I'm really super excited about it," he said.

"We got all the approvals done earlier in the year so it's been a long time coming."

The division will also benefit from further progress on Lake Proserpine with $1 million injected into stage one of a recreation hub.

 

Division 4

Division 4 Councillor Michelle Wright said the budget would provide essential infrastructure and upgrades to residents of Division 4.

This included a $2.2 million renewal of the Ted Cunningham Bridge along with a raft of upgrades to roads in the division.

"Roads, especially for people out west, (are) definitely a lifeline to communities and the people out there," Cr Wright said.

"It's an essential service. They don't get much but that's something, roads definitely cater for out there."

Cr Wright said the region would also benefit from upgrades to the Bowen and Collinsville swimming facilities.

Collinsville will also receive a $93,000 renewal to the football club and a $99,000 renewal to the tennis courts.

A $500,000 investment into the Collinsville reservoir and solar was also tagged as a big win, which Cr Wright said it would help "build resilience" in the community.

Bowen Swimming Pool is set for a revamp under the new budget.
Bowen Swimming Pool is set for a revamp under the new budget.

Division 5

Division 5 Councillor Gary Simpson said residents in his ward would benefit from the zero per cent rate increase.

"We're going to continue with 100 per cent of the services," he said.

"Being my first budget it was good to try and keep things on hold if I could because everyone's got to tighten their belts and who knows what the future holds."

Cr Simpson said while the budget did not have any "new, shiny things", several projects including the Proserpine Entertainment Centre would be carried over from last year's budget.

Cr Simpson also praised the rates contribution to rural fire brigades.

Residents living on land where the Cape Gloucester, Conway, Cannon Valley, Delta and Heronvale Rural Fire Service operate will pay a charge ranging from $15 to $25 that will go toward helping the respective services with costs.

"People think that if there's a fire the big red fire truck will come, but a lot of times out in the country it's up to the volunteers," Cr Simpson said.

Several road upgrades will happen in Division 5 under the new budget.

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Division 6

Division 6 Councillor Mike Brunker said the council had delivered a "responsible budget".

"Under these trying times it's been hard," he said.

"Businesses will be looking for some assistance, so we identified that early. They've been looked after.

"We put up water and sewerage because that's the things that we need."

Cr Brunker said residents in Division 6 were "happy" with projects that had been delivered over the past few years like the Queens Beach skate park and upgrades to playground equipment.

However, he said further upgrades to park as well as the division's swimming pools included in this years' budget would further benefit residents.

"People have still got to live; no matter what conditions we're under people still want to give their kids the chance to go out into a park that's nice and mowed," he said.

Cr Brunker looked forward to seeing progress on the Works for Queensland projects in Division 6 and said council would be focusing on upgrading pre-existing infrastructure rather than building new assets.

"All the sparkly things (residents) need to see and hoped for have been done, so now probably the next three or four years' budget … are going to be tight," he said.

"People wanting wish lists and thinking there's going to be a cash splash, we're not going to see that for a few years because we're well placed now for infrastructure."


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