Bundaberg Regional Council has reported a “significant turnaround” in its financial position thanks mainly to higher-than-expected revenue in a Covid-impacted year.
Finance spokesman Cr Steve Cooper said latest figures reveal a projected surplus of $9.4 million for 2020-21 compared with the budgeted prediction of a $5.3 million deficit.
“This encouraging result reflects a strong Covid recovery and conservative budgeting,” Cr Cooper said.
“Revenue was higher than forecast at the airport, venues and holiday parks.
“Increased construction activity also meant higher revenue from associated development fees.
“The budget was framed in the first half of last year during the height of lockdown when most activity was severely curtailed.”
Cr Cooper said the result didn’t mean Council had more cash to spend.
“Despite the overall improvement in the final budget position, the general fund remains in deficit,” he said.
“The general fund pays for day-to-day operations and relies on transfers from business units to sustain its cash position.”
Land sales at Kinkuna Waters added $2.2 million to the bottom line.
On the downside, Cr Cooper said the Federal Government’s Financial Assistance Grant was $675,000 lower than expected.
“Overall, this is a fantastic result which positions Council and the community strongly going forward,” he said.
“We’ve seen from audit reports that nearly a third of Queensland Councils are in serious financial trouble.
“Bundaberg Regional Council is well managed and able to invest in community infrastructure and services thanks to a diversified economy and balanced growth.”
Cr Cooper said the Federal and State Budgets had also reported unexpected revenue results despite being delayed due to Covid lockdowns in 2020.