Bud­get con­grat­u­la­tions

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL VIEWS -

CON­GRAT­U­LA­TIONS to coun­cil­lors Clark and Ra­m­age for vot­ing against the bud­get as pre­sented.

Ask­ing coun­cil­lors to vote on the fi­nal bud­get with­out their know­ing how in­di­vid­ual com­po­nents were de­ter­mined, was ir­re­spon­si­ble. Vot­ing on the bud­get the way it was pre­sented, left coun­cil­lors no other op­tion than to ac­cept the bud­get in its en­tirety with­out the op­por­tu­nity to vote on those com­po­nents com­pris­ing the bud­get, for ex­am­ple, the levy, wa­ter charges etc.

Some in­ter­est­ing facts rel­e­vant to the bud­get re­lease in­clude such com­ments that the in­crease is aligned to the CPI. Not quite true. The rate in­crease was 4% and the CPI was 3.1%. Notes at­tached to the bud­get showed that sugar cane pro­duc­ers would have rate in­creases capped at 15% yet other pri­mary pro­duc­ers such as cat­tle and small crops would have their rate in­creases capped at 20%. Does that send a mes­sage to the re­gion?

If Coun­cil had not rolled over on the is­sues of the NDRRA $10.8mil­lion debt, we would have seen a sig­nif­i­cant sur­plus this year.

In re­leas­ing the bud­get, mayor Jennifer Whit­ney com­mented that the rat­ing in our re­gion com­pared favourably across the state. Not so. Re­search by the WRRA de­ter­mined that of 225 towns, Air­lie Beach rates as the 5th most ex­pen­sive area in Queens­land, Bowen at 19th, Can­non­vale at 32, Proser­pine at 54 and Collinsville at 81. Ev­ery town in the Whit­sun­day re­gion is rated in the top third high­est rated towns in Queens­land.

Coun­cil’s fail­ure to re­lease doc­u­men­ta­tion pre­vi­ously sought by the WRRA has seen the mat­ter now pro­gressed to the Lo­cal Govern­ment Om­buds­man, who has ad­vised that the mat­ter is cur­rently un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.


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