Council looks to privatise
SOME tough calls will have to be made in the next few years as the Bundaberg Regional Council deals with the challenges of amalgamation, Deputy Mayor Tony Ricciardi said yesterday.
Cr Ricciardi, a cane farmer who spent 17 years as a councillor in the Isis Shire, said the greatest disappointment of the forced amalgamation two years ago was the lack of state government funding.
“We have to restructure for better efficiencies, and that will come, but it takes time, vision and long-term planning,” he said.
Cr Ricciardi, who handles the waste and recycling portfolio, said some of the tough decisions that still lay ahead were in his area.
“We will have to look at commercialising waste and recycling down the track, but that still needs to be discussed and studied to see if it is feasible,” he said.
“We will have to decide if council gets out of it entirely and contracts it to a private enterprise, or whether it’s taken over by a commercial arm of council.”
The withdrawal of the state subsidy for water and sewerage infrastructure meant the costs would have to be passed on to developers and the community.
“Council will have to be very mindful of putting in new infrastructure such as swimming pools because of the high cost,” he said.
“Those might have to go to private enterprise.”
Another big cost to the council was amalgamating four IT systems into one.
“We faced a $14 million cost for that, but there is still no word from the state government if we will get compensated for that,” he said.
“Our belief is any compensation will be minimal.”
A plus for the community was managing the tip as a regional facility, and introducing recycling to Division Two.
Cr Ricciardi said he would expect his constituents to rate his work at the end of his term, but he gave the council a rating “in the high 8s” out of 10.