Financial sustainability and fiscal discipline have been a hallmark of the Unity Team since it took office in 2012, with the belief that “if we get the money right, the rest will follow”.
This fiscal discipline, coupled with the pursuit of continuous improvement and the determination to find more efficient ways of delivering and improving services has resulted in Council achieving an enviable financial record over the past two terms of Council:
- For the past seven budgets, Council has handed down rate rises at or below CPI. (see graph) This strategy has been pivotal in boosting our overall economy as people have more money in their pockets to spend in the community.
- In delivering these low rate rises, Council has maintained a significant Capital Works (insert link here to Cap works page) program, delivering more than $1 billion of works on the ground. (see graph)
- We have done all of this and kept debt at an appropriate level – currently Cairns has the fourth lowest debt per capita among 15 similar sized Councils in the State. (see graph)
- We have also handed down balanced budgets since 2013; and
- We have delivered surpluses in operating expenditure over the past 7 budget cycles.
The Council’s 10-year financial plan shows that if the organisation continues to be prudent in its planning and expenditure, annual rate increases will remain in the order of 2%.
The financial model also forecasts a capital expenditure of approximately $1.6 billion over the next decade.
This is critical because every year Council stimulates the local economy through the expenditure of around $370 million on materials and services associated with delivering the Capital Works program; and for maintenance, renewals and other services delivered to the community.
It is important to note that approximately 90% of Council’s total expenditure is invested locally through employment and locally sourced materials and services.