Council budget delivers strong plan for Townsville

Date published: 28 June 2023

Townsville City Council’s 2023/24 Budget and Operational Plan is a strong plan to help with cost-of-living pressures while supporting the region’s growth without any unnecessary financial burdens to residents.

The $892.6 million budget was passed at today’s Budget and Ordinary Council Meeting with a strong focus on managing resources effectively and ensuring every dollar was invested wisely.

Mayor Jenny Hill said the budget was a balanced approach to responding to today’s challenges and building for tomorrow’s opportunities.

“Townsville residents have been hit hard with cost-of-living pressures as they continue to deal with increasing costs for power, fuel, food and mortgage repayments,” Cr Hill said.

“Council has also felt these cost pressures but through years of strong financial management we have been able to deliver a plan which delivers minimal cost increases to residents.

“There is no rate-in-the-dollar increase in this budget, with the average Townsville home owner-occupier to have a three per cent increase for their rate and utilities notice.

“Rates are based on the value of properties, and some Townsville property values increased by more than 270 per cent in the last land valuation by the Queensland Valuer-General.

“To help owner-occupiers Council made the decision to cap any rate increases to 10 per cent in the last budget and this year we remain committed to keeping that cap at the same level.

“This budget is a strong plan to alleviate some of the financial burdens and create an environment where every individual and family can thrive.”

One of the main priorities in the 2023/24 budget is community safety, with $14.9 million allocated to initiatives to respond to crime.

“Community safety is a major concern for residents and this budget delivers a strong plan to give the community the confidence to go out and enjoy our public spaces,” Cr Hill said.

“More of our parks will have boulders installed around them as we roll out our Boulder Protection Program even further.

“We will be expanding and upgrading our CCTV network, allocating resources to our community response teams and the Community Safety Audits.

“Council will continue to advocate on behalf of the community to make sure the lawmakers and lawbreakers are held to account as we push the State Government and the Judicial system to make real changes to reduce crime and protect the people of Townsville.”

Council’s 2023/24 budget includes $29.6 million for initiatives to help ease the financial burdens on the community.

Business Services and Finance Committee chairperson Margie Ryder said the budget includes a range of concessions and discounts to help community groups, first home buyers and community not-for-profits.

“Council’s pensioner concessions program is one of the most generous in Queensland and this budget is continuing that support for prompt payment discounts and pensioner concessions,” Cr Ryder said.

“Council also understands the importance of not-for-profit community organisations and sporting groups and in this budget we are helping them through a range of discounts.

“Eligible sporting groups will benefit from 50 to 90 per cent on their water bills. This will allow them to better get on with providing an activity for the community and developing our next generation of athletes.

“Council will also continue to offer community groups the opportunity to lease Council facilities at a nominal cost, enabling them to pursue their objectives and target their services where it is needed for the community’s well-being.

“These groups play an important role in our community and the social benefit they provide is immeasurable.”

With close to 50,000 families calling Townsville home, this budget focuses on investing across the city including in the suburbs.

Deputy Mayor Mark Molachino said the budget is a strong plan for investing in those places where residents spend most of their lives and where they raise their families.

“More than two thirds of the capital spend in the budget is being invested into our suburbs to maintain our parks and open spaces, improve our playgrounds and expand our footpaths and bikeways,” Cr Molachino said.

“The work we are doing is to help residents feel more connected to their community and making it easier for them to use facilities like our libraries, sporting fields, parks and open spaces.

“A majority of our budget is also going to investing in the essential services the community cares about the most.

“We are investing in a road network greater than the distance from Cairns to Brisbane, more than 4,000km of drains, pipes and culverts across our city and maintaining 369 parks and open spaces.”

Cr Hill said the 2023/24 budget was also looking to the future as work continued on several major projects to help grow Townsville.

“Projects like Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct, Haughton Pipeline Project, NQ Spark and the North Rail Yards project are all important projects as Townsville continues to grow,” Cr Hill said.

“Funding for these projects has already been committed and will help to create the jobs of the future, open up more affordable housing and give the water security the city needs as it continues to grow.

“This budget is a responsible and strong plan to deal with some of the challenges our community is facing today and building for tomorrow’s opportunities.”

View our 2023/24 Budget and Operational Plan web page for more information.