Budget 2022-23: Rate rise delivers better infrastructure, more service

Published 17 June 2022

Mayor's speech play video

Moreton Bay Regional Council’s $816 million Budget will deliver a record $259 million capital works program without having to cut a single project.

Locals will also see a boost to the service standards they received, following calls for more in the ‘Moreton Says’ survey.

Mayor Peter Flannery said it was a fiscally responsible Budget in the face of uncertain times, and unlike other Councils Moreton Bay would not borrow beyond its limits.

“Not only will the costs of goods and materials for Council increase by at least 14% this year, but rising fuel and power costs will also add significantly to the expense of our works and community services,” Mayor Flannery said.

“I know households are grappling with this too given the current inflation rate, but if the COVID pandemic taught us anything, it’s that we can’t go into a potential crisis unprepared or under resourced.

“So I won’t beat around the bush, there will be a 4.8% minimum general rate rise for owner occupied houses the equivalent of $0.98 per week.

“The average total rates bill for owner-occupied homes is 5.6% or $1.71 per week.

“Historically, Moreton Bay has always been and remains one of the lowest rating Councils in SEQ and even after this higher-than-usual rate rise that will remain true.

“The good news is that because we don’t have to service as much debt as other councils, your rates are going into infrastructure and services that you value and not just paying back interest.

“The total assets currently owned by Council on behalf of our communities are valued at about $8 billion, while the debt on these assets is only around $313 million. 

“To put this into perspective, this is the equivalent of owning a house today valued at $800,000 and having a mortgage of about $31,000.

“The reason we made the unusual decision to let ratepayers know last month that a rate rise was coming, is because we’re committed to having honest discussions with our community about the tough decisions we have to make, to restore transparency and trust in government.

“We want our community to be part of those discussions, and through our landmark ‘Moreton Says’ survey you resoundingly told us that you want to see Council do a lot more for the environment, roads, and you want an increase to Council services like mowing and the filling of potholes.

“This Budget delivers on all those expectations.

“There is an extra 12% being invested into the environment and local parks, because our community told us this is their number one concern.

“There’s a 22% increase for stormwater infrastructure and management of our waterways and coastal areas.

“This is critical - not only to build better flood mitigation, but as an important investment in the health of our aquatic ecosystems for generations to come.

“And we are increasing our sustainable waste management Budget by 4%.

“Something I’m personally passionate about is seeing more arts and events here in Moreton Bay.

“So, I’m proud to say we’re bringing events back in a big way, and we’re bringing them to your neighbourhoods.

“We’re adding 20 FREE community events onto our existing social calendar, as well as retaining signature events like Moreton Bay Food & Wine Festival, Kite Fest, and Jetty-2-Jetty.

All up, we will deliver in partnership with MBRIT 53 events and festivals right across the region including 43 free events which means there’ll be a celebration somewhere in Moreton Bay almost every week of the year.

“And for everyone who’s contacted Council asking why we don’t have green bins in Moreton Bay, this is going to change!

“We have a plan to deliver this by late 2025, with $400,000 allocated this year to commence a feasibility study for our own Moreton Bay Food Organics and Garden Organics waste (FOGO) management program.

“This will be an ambitious and expensive undertaking to build and operate a facility that will process food and garden waste.

“This is a demonstration that not only do we hear your concerns, but we act and deliver on them.

“So I hope in the details of this Budget you’ll see a fundamental shift in our organisation and operations, to align the actions of Council with your values.”

Below are examples of feedback we received via the Moreton Says survey, and the actions Council’s taking to address those concerns:

Banksia Beach Resident: “Protecting environment is critical in developments. The council needs to take a stronger role in protecting and enhancing environment and wildlife habitat.”

Council: You’re right. We have listened, and we are acting. This year the environmental component of the Regional Infrastructure and Environment Charge will increase to $22, that’s a $6 boost from last year. It will fund more green initiatives - like an expanded land buyback program, to prevent more wildlife habitat from construction or development.

We’ve locked up 83 hectares of land for wildlife since we launched this program in 2020, and we’re not slowing down. This year we will also increase tree plantings by 30% so in addition to the 160,000 trees we planted this financial year, there will be more than 210,000 planted in 2022-23.

Albany Creek Resident: “Prioritising walking, cycling and public transport over car trips would go a long way. Currently our region is designed for cars, at the expense of more sustainable options.”

Council: We hear you. That’s why there are 148 footpath projects either planned or underway around our region. Especially where there are ‘missing links’ in the network to connect these footpaths up. Definitely speak to your local Councillor if there are missing links in your area so we can add them to our priority list. Because we want to enable more people to travel by foot or bike or other zero-emission and active transport options.

Samford Resident: “I would like to see a greater focus on overall environmental improvement - energy use reduction, waste reduction, habitat management and weed control.”

Council: Here are just a few examples of how we are addressing those concerns this year:

  • we’ve purchased two new electric ride-on lawn mowers
  • we’ve bought an electric vehicle and installed a charging station in Strathpine. That trial is currently underway.
  • we have fitted solar panels on 16 community buildings; and
  • we’re even in discussions with Tesla to install a megapack at our Bunya Waste site

Mayor Flannery said this Council would not shrink its ambitions in facing the challenges ahead.

“You have told us to get ahead of population growth. You have told us to go green. You told us to increase community services. And that’s exactly what Budget 2022-23 does,” he said.

“Years of good financial management have allowed us to prepare for a rainy day. From a cost and inflation perspective that day has arrived so that good financial management allows us to provide stability for our residents.

“We will not cut maintenance; we will increase it.

“We will not cut projects; we will deliver more.

“Not only is this important for liveability but also local employment and the local economy.

“This budget will continue to support and improve our amazing places and our natural spaces throughout our region.

“Council today adopted the new Corporate Plan 2022-27 with the vision developed with feedback from the community about what they want for the future.”

Video transcript

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