HomeCouncil'Responsible' Council budget in difficult times

‘Responsible’ Council budget in difficult times

BRC Budget 2020
Bundaberg Regional Council's 2020-21 Budget includes an allocation of $12.6 million to complete the $18 million upgrade of the Gregory River Water Treatment Plant.

A construction industry stimulus package is one of the highlights in this year’s Council Budget, which also delivers no increase in the general rate.

Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey said it’s a “responsible budget in difficult times”.

Despite taking a $2.8 million hit in lost revenue thanks to COVID-19, Mayor Dempsey said the Budget offers relief to struggling households and economic stimulus without increasing debt.

“There’s an $83 million capital works program to create jobs and improve infrastructure,” he said.

“There’s support for the construction industry to power the engine of economic recovery.

“And there’s a helping hand for sporting organisations to get back on their feet.”

The Budget forecasts a $5.26 million deficit due to COVID impacts.

“Unless there’s a second wave, Council will return to a balanced budget in 2021-22 with no increase in loans,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“This outcome has been achieved because Council prudently set aside funds in the past to meet challenges exactly like this.”

Mayor Dempsey thanked the State Government for its support through COVID Works For Queensland $7.1 million and the Federal Government for $2.1 million in roads funding.

Major capital works in Council Budget

Some of the major capital projects in 2020-21 include:

  • Gregory River water treatment plant $12.6 million (completion of $18 million project)
  • Back Windermere Road $2.6 million
  • Bundaberg Recreation Precinct $3.32 million
  • Branyan Dr/Avoca Rd/Dittman Rd traffic lights and upgrade $1.28 million
  • One Mile Creek Monduran Rd bridge replacement $1.24 million
  • Hamanns Road, Apple Tree Creek, crossing upgrade $1.285 million
  • Batchlers Road, Gooburrum, upgrade $850,000
  • Coonarr Beach Road sealing $640,000
  • Elliott Heads Holiday Park upgrades $620,000

Council has previously announced COVID relief measures including the suspension of dog registration fees and support for sporting groups.

“Today I’m pleased to announce a multi-million package called Building Bundaberg Region,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“It delivers a range of fee waivers and incentives to encourage development including permanent reductions to infrastructure charges for sectors including rural industries and nature-based tourism.”

No increase in rates for most ratepayers

Finance portfolio spokesman Cr Steve Cooper said most ratepayers will see no increase in their rates for 2020-21.

Cr Cooper said there’s no rise in general rates before adjustments to offset the removal of the early payment discount.

“For the vast majority of ratepayers there won’t be a rate increase,” he said.

“Some 42,037 ratepayers will see no change or a reduction in the general rate.

“There’s also zero increase in water access and consumption charges.”

The pensioner discount remains at $165, which benefits 10,166 ratepayers at a cost of $1.7 million.

“As a pandemic relief measure, Council has extended the period before interest penalties apply until 1 January 2021, effectively giving people four months to pay,” Cr Cooper said.

Full Council Budget coverage



  1. Could you please inform the community what is happening to the newly promised level 5 hospital..It is greatly needed and also the employment benefits from this project are greatly needed. Thank you

  2. Yet another case of smoke and mirrors. So if you are a pensioner and save hard to cover your rates to get the early payment discount, look out. You just effectively increased my rates by $160 a year. That’s very responsible and before you say it, but you get the pension rebate, not sure if you realise pensioners have to save hard to pay the rates each year anyway. But then look at the wages councils are on. We wonder why the country is going down hill so fast. Hope you get that warm fuzzy feeling.

  3. Charlie, it’s correct that Council has removed the early-payment discount, which was $112 for the average residential ratepayer. However, the general rate has reduced by more than the value of the early payment discount.

    This discount previously applied if payment was made within 35 days of the rate notices being issued.

    Councillors felt it was inequitable because people who couldn’t afford to pay by the date were missing out. Also, pensioners were receiving less discount as the Council pension rebate was deducted from the general rate before the discount was applied.

    In the 2020-21 Budget, Council has reduced the rate in the dollar across every category. For the average urban residential ratepayer, general rates will reduce this year from $1504 to $1372. For rural residential, the reduction is from $1420 to $1296.

    For the average residential ratepayer, who previously claimed the early payment discount, their general rate amount would still reduce for 2020-21.

    As a pandemic relief measure, Council has extended the period before interest penalties apply until 1 January 2021, effectively giving four months to pay. Those who can’t pay by the due date should contact Council to enter into a payment arrangement as soon as possible after receiving the rate notice.

  4. Why does Coonarr Beach need sealing when it is used by 4wd accessing the beach when you cannot finish sealing Barretts Road where approximately 20 ratepayers use this road everyday just to get to work and school. It is also very rough for the ambulances that have to come down the road to get to the patients on occasion. Patching the road also only last so long and we will have potholes just to damage the tyres and rims on the cars.

  5. As promised 10 years ago, the sealing of Three Chain Road now appears to be put back even further. I see that Council has brought forward the sealing and or upgrading of Back Windermere Road, of which one ratepayer lives in its whole distance. Surely this has to be a mistake as Three Chain Road is the preferred route by GPS for all tourists as well as workers to and from Elliott Heads.

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