Townsville Enterprise welcomes Townsville City Council’s fiscally responsible 2020/21 Budget, which was handed down today with a large focus on financial management, jobs, and social and economic development initiatives to recover from the impacts of COVID-19 and supporting residents and businesses through the ongoing impacts of the February 2019 floods.
- Freeze on owner occupier general rates for at least six months, wastewater charges freeze, consistent charges for multi-unit residential rates, CBD rates premium level removed
- 25% reduction in infrastructure charges for new developments valued at more than $4M
- 50% discount on sewerage charges for NFP sporting clubs
- $221.9M towards infrastructure projects
- $81.1M for parks and open spaces
- $20.6M towards arts, cultural and events sectors
- $0.98 cents/week increase to households from increased water charges, wheelie bin and landfill fees and other fees and charges
The $648.8M Budget has taken a sensible approach during a time of great uncertainty in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst also assisting owner-occupiers through a six month freeze on general rates, a freeze on wastewater charges, and as a result of ensuring consistency across property types the rates for some businesses will decrease by 6%.
Mayor Jenny Hill said Council had undertaken a thorough review of ratings categories across the city (the first of its kind since Council's amalgamation in 2008) to ensure consistency across the city whilst remaining revenue neutral. The review also identified that the significant changes to retailing over the past decade required Council to change the way it rates small and large retail stores. Importantly, the CBD rates premium has been removed which will help encourage further investment into the city.
Promoting an attractive investment environment to stimulate new projects has also been boosted through a 25% reduction in council infrastructure charges (up to a maximum of $250K) for new developments valued at more than $4M. Additionally, through a $25M community assistance package, not-for-profit sporting clubs across Townsville will receive a 50% reduction on their sewerage charges.
Council has allocated $221.9M towards capital works which will not only create local employment opportunities but upgrade core utilities across Townsville, including $75.8M for water, wastewater and stormwater assets, and $150.3M towards managing and improving roads and transport. Council is also committing $20.6M for the arts, cultural and events sectors and $81.1M for upgrading and maintaining parks and open spaces across the city, including the continued revitalisation of Central Park near Queensland Country Bank Stadium.
Council has ensured minimal increases to the community's rates and charges, with a 5% increase to both water and bin/landfill fees, equating to an additional $0.98 cents/week to households.
Townsville Enterprise acknowledges the support of the Townsville City Council in its partnership, which will only further support the city's economic recovery and resilience and enhance future opportunities across the region. We look forward to continue working with Council and TaskforceNQ to support the projects and initiatives highlighted in this Budget and press the need for further State and Federal support for Townsville and North Queensland. It's key that the State and Federal Governments recognise the critical need to continue to support local investment and jobs drivers as part of the COVID-19 economic recovery, given two difficult years in a row for our region driven by external events.
Townsville Enterprise congratulates Council on the economic leadership and considered approach demonstrated in this Budget, particularly whilst our city's and the world's economy is under a cloud of uncertainty. Council's 2020/21 Budget provides a strong foundation for the additional investment from the State Government that our region needs post COVID-19 and to build upon the welcome Federal Government funding already announced and being delivered to build the infrastructure for our economic expansion.