Council contracts go local
MAKING the North Burnett Regional Council more efficient may also lead to a healthier local economy, acting chief executive officer David Wiskar says.
At a series of breakfast meetings across the region earlier this month, Mr Wiskar explained how major new council contracts going up for tender in May would increase the council’s efficiency.
For example, Mr Wiskar said ensuring council workers only had to go to one place for diesel supply and delivery would keep administration costs to a minimum.
It would also stop ratepayers’ money leaking outside the area, bolstering the local economy.
“I would say 90% of the $900,000 we spend on dry plant hire goes outside the North Burnett at the moment, because there is no one here who provides the service,” Mr Wiskar said.
“That means we are not only paying the cost to hire the gear but to go and pick it up as well.”
He said an obligation to award contracts to local people, even if they were 10% more expensive than a competitor in costs, would hopefully bolster businesses and services in the regional area.
But he said the region’s business community would have to play its part for the strategy to succeed.
“Business owners will have to sharpen their pencils as well,” Mr Wiskar said.
“They will have to offer good service, good pricing and be prepared to address our business needs.”
He said keeping a lid on council costs had become more important as its revenue sources became more constrained.
“Once upon a time local government was about rates, roads and rubbish,” he said.
“But now responsibilities are getting passed down from federal, to state to local government. The latest example of this was asbestos management.”
He said this meant local governments had to stretch their money much further.
A round of tenders for a variety of council contracts will open next month.
SPEAKING UP: Members of the Mundubbera community meet with council for a morning meeting.
BUSINESS FORUM: David Wiskar, Neil McPhillips, Ian Frampton, Don Waugh and Sue Telford.