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Beef Processing Opportunity in Hughenden Beef Processing Opportunity in Hughenden

Beef Processing Opportunity in Hughenden

Flinders Shire Council has taken the first steps to secure the region’s place as a reliable, innovative supplier of quality Australian beef to growing markets in Asia, Middle East and other parts of the world.

To read more on Future Beef Processing Opportunity in Hughenden CLICK HERE.

 

 For Other Information and Media Releases Click Here

 

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Mayor's Budget Speech

MAYOR'S 2017 / 2018 BUDGET REPORT

It is with pleasure that I hand down the Flinders Shire Council’s Budget for the 2017/18 Financial Year. Your Councillors and Staff have worked well together to formulate the financial plan for the coming year.

December 2016 saw the decision by Aurizon to remove jobs from Hughenden. This decision has had a direct impact on your Council’s plans and focus for economic development within the Shire and community. Added to this 2017 has seen the continuation of another missed wet season and very patchy rainfall across much of the Shire.  For many of the pastoralists of the Flinders Shire the drought is still biting hard, especially in the southern sectors of the Shire. Another year of drought and population decline has continued to affect the businesses of Hughenden. We have framed the Flinders Shire Budget of 2017/2018 with this in mind.

The Council has remained positive in promoting the opportunities of Agriculture, Horticulture and Tourism. The future planning needs for the Meat Processing Plant, the 15 Mile Intensive Agricultural Opportunities, new Tourism Promotions and the Recreational Lake are all provided for within this Budget. Every opportunity to lobby, communicate and work with the State Government, Federal Ministers and Senators, and our State and Federal MP’s Rob and Bob Katter for future projects and funding has been a priority for your Council representatives.

The years of lobbying by many has been rewarded this year with the fruition of significant roads funding for the Hann Highway. This funding has been a direct result of the policy initiatives within the Northern Australia Development Policy and Northern Australia Roads Programme, and support from the Queensland Government through the Department of Transport and Main Roads. The Australian Government is contributing $42.66 million and the Queensland Government $10.66 million to the project, which is expected to seal a further 42.15km between The Lynd and Hughenden.  Flinders Shire Council is very pleased to be an active participant in delivering for the future of the North.

 

Economic Development

Council’s budget will continue work to develop the meat processing plant proposal, as well as the 15 Mile intensive agricultural initiatives. While Council's budget needs to be balanced, it is important to progress these important initiatives by providing operational and capital outlays.

On the 26th April, 2017 CNVM Investment Pty Ltd, NorthBEEF and the Flinders Shire Council signed the Development Deed for the Hughenden Meat Processing Plant. Planning is well advanced by all partners for this Project and we look forward to this development proceeding once all approvals are in place.

Drilling for water at the 15 Mile is well advanced and we will soon be progressing to Water, Vegetation Management, Soil and Farm Plans, which will progress to the development of investment farm lots. Council’s budget provides for some $700,000 for water allocations and $200,000 for continued planning.

Other significant events that have occurred in the past year, has been the planning and commencement of construction on the Hann Highway. On the 19th July, 2017 we celebrated the 90th Birthday of the Hann Highway with the Sod Turning for the first Northern Australia Roads Program Project.

We have also seen the progression of planning and construction schedules for both Solar Farms – the Hughenden Solar Trust and the Kennedy Energy Farm. Both will provide much needed employment and business opportunities within the community.

State Funding Programs for the Work for Queensland Riverbank Stabilisation Program are well advanced, as are the Aerodrome fencing and the Sewerage Treatment Plant Upgrades. All of these programs have meant job security for Council Staff and new employment opportunities.

 

Shire Land Valuations

As for the 2016/17 Rating year, the Queensland Valuer- General decided not to undertake a Shire revaluation for the 2017/18 year. This means that all valuations for rating purposes will be the same as last year, unless special circumstances exist, such as amalgamations or reconfigurations.

 

 

General Rates

Similar to last year, Council will be issuing quarterly rates notices. It is considered that these measures assist the majority of rate payers in paying their rates, particularly in times of economic hardship.  All rates and charges are payable within 30 days of issue of the rate notice and the first quarterly rates notice will be posted in August.

The General Rate increase for 2017/18 has been set at 3.5% which will collect just over $2 million in general rates.

 

Wild Dog Levy

The Wild Dog levy will be increased by 3.5% which is expected to raise the total levy of $82,685. The levy represents around 33% of the total outlays on wild dog control measures, with the balance coming from grants and general rates.

The rates notice separately identifies the dog levy and applies to all rural lands with a valuation greater than $50,000 or greater than 4,000 ha. All properties having an area less than 200ha are exempt from the levy.

 

Water, Sewerage and Waste Management Charges

Council has increased water and waste charges by 3.5% for the 2017/18 financial year and the sewerage charges have increased by 5%.

These increases do not reflect the increased cost of service delivery.  The charges being levied do not cover the full cost of the services provided and therefore these services are also subsidised from general rates.   However, Council is mindful of the community’s capacity to pay.

 

Total Rates and Charges

Total rates and charges in 2017/18 will raise approximately $3.8 million.

 

Examples of Rating Charges

Annual Charge

Annual Increase

Quarterly Increase

%

Cat 1.5 Residential Hughenden Less than 1ha

$  1,923.89

$ 72.24

$18.18

3.90%

Cat 2.1 Commercial Hughenden

$  3,106.76

$121.98

$30.50

4.08%

Cat 4.2 Rural Land more than 500ha

$11,174.80

$374.15

$93.54

3.46%

 

This is a minimal increase overall to cover CPI and to assist with the cost of Economic Development Projects within the Shire. Over the past several years rate increases have been kept to a minimum.  While this is appropriate in times of drought and economic downturn, this means that Council will have limited funds to maintain assets and services, plus the challenge of remaining economically sustainable into the medium to long term.

 

Council Pensioner Rate Concessions

Council’s Pensioner Rates Concession Policy provides for concessions on General, Waste Management and Water Rates up to a maximum of $475.00 for eligible pensioners.

Generally, if you are a pensioner and your home is your principal place of residence in the residential rate land categories, you are likely eligible to apply. For more information you can contact the Council’s Revenue Officer. A copy of the policy is available at the Shire Office.

 

Overall Budget Position

Council is budgeting for a small operating surplus of $59,000 and it has been framed on the basis of maintaining a strong cash position. Council’s budget provides for total operating income of $27.129 million with total operating expenses of $27.070 million, providing a balanced budget.

Rates and Charges account for approximately 14% of Council’s total operating revenue. Total Council own source revenue accounts for 20.3% of total operating revenue. External operating grants account for 28.5% of total operating revenue.

External Contract works account for 51.2 per cent of total operating revenue. This shows that Council is very dependent on external grants and works to be financially sustainable.

Employee costs and materials and services accounts for 81.6 per cent of total operating expenses, with financial costs representing less than one per cent of operating expenses and depreciation cost representing 17.7 per cent of total operating expenses.

Overall, the budget meets the financial sustainable criteria so important to our Shire going forward.

 

Works Program

This financial year Council will have a significant works program on the Hann Highway and Flinders Highway.  Work will be undertaken this year on further sealing works on the Boonderoo section of the Hann Highway.  The important reconstruction works on the Flinders Highway east of Hughenden will be finalised this year.

Council will also be undertaking other considerable capital road works funded from Council revenue and government grants:

  • 2016 Flood Damage Shire Roads (REPA) - $1,555,000
  • Footpaths -  $321,000
  • Floodways-  $300,000
  • Shire and Town Roads Reseals $461,000
  • Town Streets Maintenance $733,000
  • Rural Roads - $1,500,000

Council has provided significant funds for normal local Shire roads maintenance, this being $1.50 million for rural roads and increase of some 25 per cent, and $733,000 for town streets.

 

Water and Sewerage Improvements

Council’s Budget provides for an upgrade of the Hughenden Sewerage Treatment Plant at a cost of some $1.024 million.  The current arrangements provides for Council to discharge treated water in the Flinders River.  The planned upgrade will provide the option to reuse the treated water.  Council will therefore use the treated water for the beautification of the Western Entrance to Hughenden between the Driver Reviver and the Lights on the Hill. This is all part of the Sewerage upgrade that was commenced in the last financial year.

Council’s water, sewerage and waste management operations have all been adequately funded to ensure service delivery is provided at an industry standard.

 

Plant Operations

Council’s plant operations will this year deliver good rates of return on Council’s policy of capital investment in plant.  The budget provides for a net capital outlay of some $1.8 million for new plant to ensure the plant is kept efficient and relevant to the needs of the Council works commitments.

 

Lifestyle Improvements

The major community development initiative in 2017/18 is the Council’s commitment to the development of our recreational lake for the Shire.  The total cost for the project is estimated to be $6.1 million. Council has applied for grant funding under the Australian Government’s Building Better Regions Fund, which is expected to be announced soon.  If grant funding is received, Council’s commitment over three years will be approximately $2.026 million.  Council will be applying for further State Government grant funding as Grant programs become available.  It has been estimated that up to $190,000 will be required annually to maintain the facility, including water pumping costs, parks and gardens maintenance, lake vegetation, algal control, water sampling and compliance operations.

While this is a big investment for our community, Council considers that with the improved lifestyle opportunities that the lake will provide to our community and the opportunity to increase economic activity through tourism and water sports development, the benefits over time will greatly exceed the cost. 

 

Flinders River Bank Stabilisation

Over the years considerable erosion has been occurring to the Flinders River bank particularly in the vicinity of the Diggers Entertainment Centre and the Flinders River Bridge.  The total project value is $1.46 million with the State Government ’Work 4 Queensland’ Program contributing $1.1 million;  Department of Local Government funding of $207,000; and the Council contribution of $143,000.  This project is scheduled over two financial years.  An additional 7 people have been employed for this work.

 

Summary

This Budget will provide for the progressive projects, programs and services provided by our Engineering, Construction, Environmental Health, Community Development, Sport and Recreation, Libraries, Tourism Development, Rural Services, and Community Care Council Departments. These departments are charged with delivering Council Policy. All are supported by our Finance and Governance teams.  These services will continue providing the strong focus and support required to enable our community to move forward and address the economic and social challenges that rural and remote Queensland experience.

Council provides many facilities for the use of the Flinders Shire residents and visitors. All have been reviewed and provided with funding and will be managed within a sound asset management framework.

 

I am honoured to present this Council's second budget for adoption.

 

Mayor 

Councillor Jane McNamara

 

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