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Billion-dollar budget: report reveals council's highlights of financial year

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Sunshine Coast Council’s 2022-23 annual report has been delivered, highlighting the achievements of the organisation throughout the financial year.

The report was presented at last week’s Ordinary Meeting, alongside the Arts and Heritage Levy, Transport Levy and Environmental Levy annual reports.

In a press release, the council said delivering the region’s first billion-dollar budget, creating an Olympic Games legacy and providing key services for the community were key achievements.

“In addition to delivering our region’s first $1 billion budget, council continued to assist ratepayers by offering interest-free payment arrangements for those who made an arrangement by the rates payment due date,” Mayor Mark Jaimeson said.

“Eligible pensioners also benefited from a 7 per cent increase in their pensioner rate concession.

“Council also continued to pay all suppliers within seven days, regardless of payment terms, to assist with the economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’d like to thank my fellow councillors and the council team for their commitment to prudent and disciplined management of this organisation’s resources, and all council employees and community volunteers who help make our region the special place it is.”

The Sunshine Coast Council chambers.

In June, the council delivered its first $1 billion budget, which included: $366 million for projects to develop a strong community; $327 million to maintain and enhance environment and liveability; $41 million to build a resilient economy; and $156 million to deliver service excellence.

The council delivered 82 per cent ($240 million) of its $293 million Capital Works Program, during a year that presented external challenges such as inflationary prices, impacts on supply chains and high demand for contractors.

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Cr Jamieson said the council’s achievements were underpinned by strong financial management.

“Council achieved its 15th consecutive year with an unmodified audit opinion from the Queensland Audit Office,” he said.

“This provides our community with the strongest-possible assurance that council’s financial statements are a true indication of our results.”

In 2022-23, more than 287,000 customers were assisted through the council’s development and customer contact centres, 1238 parks were managed and more than $8.3 million was allocated for new and upgraded park facilities.

It also resurfaced and/or rehabilitated 88km of roads, representing 161 projects with a total delivery cost of $21.7 million.

The annual report and financial statements are available on the council’s website.

Mayor Mark Jamieson and Sunshine Coast Council CEO Emma Thomas.

The Arts and Heritage Levy annual report, meanwhile, details the two annual programs funded from the $16 per rateable property.

The Heritage Program ($13) aims to document, research, conserve, protect, promote and provide access to those tangible and intangible items, places, facilities and events that define the stories, history and values of the people, communities and culture of the Sunshine Coast.

The Arts Program ($3), in its first year, provided employment for more than 350 artists and art workers (82 of whom were First Nations people), and engaged 136 volunteers.

The Transport Levy report says it raised $6.8 million. Funds were allocated toward improving bus stops, continuing the RideScore trial initiative, supporting the Department of Transport and Main Roads in progressing the detailed business case for the Sunshine Coast Public Transport Project, and supporting research to understand changes over time in how people travel.

The $80 Environment Levy, paid by every Sunshine Coast ratepayer through their annual rates, pays for work including on coastal dunes, weeds and maintaining council’s 4050ha conservation estate of Environment Levy-acquired land.

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