Call for Coun­cil to rene­go­ti­ate loans

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

THERE is pres­sure from some ratepay­ers for the Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil to rene­go­ti­ate the terms of its debt in or­der to avoid high in­creases in rates and charges and the ma­jor projects levy.

How­ever, Mayor Jen­ni­fier Whit­ney says the Queens­land Trea­sury Cor­po­ra­tion (QTC) con­tin­u­ally mon­i­tors Coun­cil’s fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion and pro­vides weekly fore­casts.

She says the QTC also vis­its on a monthly ba­sis to meet with her and the CEO Scott Wa­ters and the Chief Fi­nan­cial Of­fi­cer Matthew McGol- drick. Dave Ne­bauer from the Bowen Collinsville En­ter­prise Cen­tre is one per­son who be­lieves the cur­rent re­pay­ment struc­ture is un­ac­cept­able and says Coun­cil should rene­go­ti­ate to ease the pain from ratepay­ers.

Mr Ne­bauer is also the Chair­man of Whit­sun­days Mar­ket­ing and De­vel­op­ment’s Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Strate­gic Ad­vi­sory Group.

He ad­dressed a spe­cial meet­ing of Coun­cil in Bowen last Wednes­day.

Mr Ne­bauer says coun­cil debt is about $71 mil­lion and that with the cur­rent loan ar­range­ments, the re- pay­ments for prin­ci­ple and in­ter­est would be about $194,000 a week.

“That means it would take about eight years to pay back the loan and that is fun­da­men­tally un­ac­cept­able,” he said.

He said rene­go­ti­at­ing the loans would take the heat off ratepay­ers in the short term.

He wants the mayor, the CEO and key com­mu­nity rep­re­sen­ta­tives to meet with the Premier and the Lo­cal Govern­ment Min­is­ter to ex­plain the cir­cum­stances.

How­ever Cr Whit­ney says Coun­cil is com­mit­ted to re­pay­ing the debt and im­ple­ment­ing the 2013/2014 bud­get.

"We have a very co­op­er­a­tive re­la­tion­ship with the QTC, and the QTC has ad­vised us that there will be the pos­si­bil­ity of re­view­ing our cur­rent emer­gent fund­ing ar­range­ments ahead of the next fi­nan­cial year," she said.

"If Coun­cil is able to rene­go­ti­ate the terms of the emer­gent fund­ing, Coun­cil­lors will make that de­ci­sion next year dur­ing bud­get de­lib­er­a­tions.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.