The Barcaldine Regional Council 2023-2024 Budget has been developed in the most difficult macro economic conditions of the 21st Century. For once Council hasn’t been faced with deteriorating climatic conditions, plunging or sustaining our region into drought. Yet the headwinds of the broader state, national and international economy have been keenly felt by council as the budget has been developed.
Cost of living is a phrase often widely used, with other levels of governments able to use headline announcements running to the tens of billions of dollars; in either direct cash handouts or through taxation relief. Low own source revenue base councils like ours have massive limitations on their ability to provide similar relief due to their own spiralling costs and diminishing local capacity to sustain significant increases.
However predominantly the negatives in real terms stop there. Due to the significant budget repair undertaken over the last 3 budgets; where this council has taken extremely difficult decision to ensure business units of council have been placed in a cash positive position and our bottom line in terms of unrestricted cash has not only been placed under extreme monthly scrutiny but restored to a positive trajectory, we have been able to withstand the need to rush rates, fees and charges massively to be in front of CPI to temper the storm, thereby providing real, sustainable cost of living relief via softer increases. Council is also firmly on track to be debt free by 2030, relieving the annual repayment burden on council cash reserves and achieving a significant milestone that will provide for stable foundations moving forward.