Council reduces borrowings

WHITSUNDAY Regional Council will not borrow for operational costs in 2010/2011.

Council's CEO, John Finlay, said borrowings were no longer required to maintain the operations.

Council's only current borrowing is for some new assets.

“The positive future of the Whitsunday Regional Council is about planning and in particular financial planning,” Mr Finlay said.

“Reserves have been created for Council's business activities with surpluses having been transferred into the reserves,” he said.

“In years where there is not much capital expenditure budgeted, the surplus will be transferred from these reserves in years where capital expenditure is required that exceeds the revenue for that particular year. Five and ten-year schedules of works support these activities.”

These activities include the Whitsunday Coast Airport, refuse operations, Foxdale Quarry, Shute Harbour jetty and parks.

A general reserve is also being created to support other major capital works that will be required in the future.

Mr Finlay said prudent financial planning and management meant the following works are included in the budgets and can be undertaken without the need for borrowings.

Airport – $1.1 million of works, including $750,000 for the upgrade of the car park facilities has been budgeted in the 2010/2011 budget. A further $16 million program of works has also been budgeted for over the next nine years.

Refuse operations – a $7 million program of works has been budgeted for over the next five years.

Roadworks and drainage – a $48.3 million capital program of works has been budgeted for over the next five years with another $82 million scheduled for the following five years.

Parks and recreation facilities – a $1.3 million program of capital and enhancement works has been budgeted for 2010/2011.

Examples of reviewed operational efficiencies since amalgamation include:

The cancellation of annualised overtime for former Whitsunday Shire administration staff, saving $200,000 a year.

The Whitsunday Shire Council engaged a human resources consultant on a retainer plus expenses at a monthly retainer cost of $8000. The first Enterprise Bargaining Agreement for Whitsunday Regional Council was prepared and negotiated in-house. 

The removal of two group executive positions from the Council structure. These roles were taken up within the director positions of the current executive structure. This has resulted in annual savings of $370,000.

Temporary surplus operational funds are invested with QTC and funds in operational bank accounts are minimised to ensure the maximisation of interest returns.

All areas of Council have been reviewed to help achieve balanced operational finances.

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