Coun­cil to drive works pro­gram

South Burnett Times - - SOUTH BURNETT BUDGET - Troy Kip­pen troy.kip­pen@south­bur­nett­

SOUTH Bur­nett Re­gional Coun­cil will main­tain its staff lev­els this year to help carry out the largest road main­te­nance pro­gram ever un­der­taken in the his­tory of this coun­cil.

The coun­cil has re­duced full-time staff num­bers from 330 to 302, with some va­can­cies in the past three years, to save on costs.

But on Fri­day, Mayor Wayne Kratz­mann said there would be no re­duc­tion of staff this year be­cause of the large cap­i­tal works pro­gram.

The $6 mil­lion road main­te­nance pro­gram will see 103 roads re­sealed from Be­narkin to Mur­gon.

“Our work­force puts ap­prox­i­mately $560,000 back into our lo­cal econ­omy each fort­night,” Cr Kratz­mann said.

“Add to this the coun­cil’s buy lo­cal pol­icy and we are a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to our re­gional econ­omy and should be recog­nised to the same ex­tent as other large em­ploy­ers.”

But he warned that the coun­cil could see a re­duc­tion of 4% next year if the size of the cap­i­tal works pro­gram was re­duced in the 2015/16 bud­get.

Cr Kratz­mann said with flood works wind­ing up, it was im­por­tant to main­tain a strong cap­i­tal works pro­gram to keep peo­ple em­ployed in the re­gion.

“If we can’t main­tain the amount of road­works the fol­low­ing year we would have to look at 4% cut,” he said.

Cr Kratz­mann said there were early in­di­ca­tions that there would be more Road to Re­cov­ery fund­ing in 2015/16.

To main­tain em­ploy­ment in the re­gion the coun­cil was also spend­ing $4.2 mil­lion to re­place the Sun­day Creek Bridge on the Gayn­dah-Hivesville Rd and the Stu­art River Bridge on the Kumbia-Brook­lands Rd.

“I can tell you that CMC have won the ten­der to re­place those bridges,” he said.

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