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 track record over the past two terms of Council.
“We think we have got the balance right over the past 7 or so years and we hope that holds us in good stead to be returned to office in March,” Mayor Bob Manning said.
The track record includes:
- For the past seven budgets, Council has handed down rate rises at or below CPI. 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 program, delivering more than $1 billion of works on the ground – projects that enhance the liveability of Cairns associated with recreational and cultural facilities, and critical infrastructure associated with our transport network, and water, waste and wastewater facilities.
“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,” Cr Manning said.
“We have also handed down balanced budgets since 2013, and we have delivered surpluses in operating expenditure over the past 7 budget cycles. “
Cr Manning said 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.