Bundaberg Mayor Cr Lorraine Pyefinch.
Bundaberg Mayor Cr Lorraine Pyefinch. Max Fleet

6% rate rise to hit Bundy locals

A RATES rise of 6 per cent was announced yesterday as Bundaberg Region Mayor Lorraine Pyefinch delivered what she called a “back to basics” budget.

“This is a budget of considerable restraint,” Cr Pyefinch said.

“It is a budget that will build a strong base for future growth by improving council's financial position.”

Cr Pyefinch said the Bundaberg Regional Council's rates and charges remained some of the most affordable in Queensland.

And she said the council was aiming to return to a balanced budget in the 2011/12 financial year.

The 10% discount for people who pay their rates within 30 days is to remain.

Sewerage charges will increase from $480 to $510, and the charge for water access will increase from $315 to $335.

Cr Pyefinch said in the year ahead the council would concentrate mainly on upgrading and maintaining essential ageing infrastructure while planning for the future needs of the community.

“Council continues to work towards the goals in our corporate plan so that our region continues to develop as a vibrant, inclusive and caring community,” she said.

“We aim to maintain a sustainable, well-managed and healthy environment.”

Delivering her budget speech yesterday morning, Cr Pyefinch said Bundaberg had weathered the global financial crisis much better than many other communities.

“We are very mindful of the capacity of our residents to absorb increases in the cost of living,” she said.

Cr Pyefinch said the budget would build a strong base for future growth by improving the council's financial position.

This year's capital works program would provide approximately $55 million to build essential infrastructure such as roads, water and sewerage treatment plants.

Cr Pyefinch said specific challenges this year had included the state government's refusal to repay the $14.7 million that had been spent on the forced amalgamation of the four councils.

The state government had also withdrawn the 40% subsidy for water and sewerage infrastructure development.

At the same time increasing standard for environmental compliance, particularly in waste management and the treating of water and sewerage, had increased the costs of those services.

Cr Pyefinch said the impact of flooding at the start of the year had placed additional strain on the council's capital works program to repair damaged roads and bridges across the region.

She said significant increases in operational costs, particularly energy costs such as fuel and electricity, had also had an impact on the budget.

“The construction and maintenance costs of new and existing council assets have continued to increase at a rate much higher than CPI,” Cr Pyefinch said.

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