Coun­cil con­tracts go lo­cal

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS -

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.

PHOTO: NOEL THOMP­SON

SPEAK­ING UP: Mem­bers of the Mun­dub­bera com­mu­nity meet with coun­cil for a morn­ing meet­ing.

PHOTO: ERICA MURREE

BUSI­NESS FO­RUM: David Wiskar, Neil McPhillips, Ian Framp­ton, Don Waugh and Sue Telford.

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