Mayoral Media Release – Council looks to staff and community for efficiencies!
From your Mayor and Councillors.
In April 2019, whilst Council was finalising our budget we were subjected to an unfavourable credit review by the State Government through the Queensland Treasury Corporation (QTC) and the Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs (DLGRMA). This review was to the effect that Council must address its operating deficit (which had existed since amalgamation) before it will be granted any further borrowings. Forty-four (44) Councils in Queensland run operational deficits and not all of these have had their borrowings restricted in this way, so this unforeseen result has forced Council to act promptly to immediately rectify the situation.
In July 2019, Councillors handed down a budget which addressed this issue by premising that $1.5 million in cost savings would be realised from the 2019/2020 operational budget. How these savings would be realised would be a matter for Council’s staff to recommend how best to achieve this.
In August 2019, Council commenced workforce wide consultation by way of its Workplace Sustainability Project to engage with every staff member on ways to reduce our costs, find efficiencies and sustain our workforce and our community. This consultation has been inward focussed to the organisation pursuant to due process required by relevant legislation and Council’s Certified Agreement in dealing with changes in staffing and work arrangements. Council is currently still within this phase.
In October 2019 all feedback and proposals will be collated and presented to Council for review and consideration. Council will look to enact actions that create efficiencies and cost savings without unduly impacting on services.
Going forward Council will be required to do a full service review in conjunction with the State Government. This review will include community consultation, with all feedback collated for Council and State Government consideration.
Council is in a state of change, with this financial year being the first year since 2011 where Council is not receiving flood recovery funding, which has sustained a region wide workforce for many years. This is a time of working out what our ‘new normal’ looks like, and Council together with community are charged with finding solutions for delivering quality services in a financially responsible manner into the future.
Councillors are extremely aware of the effects any decision of Council has within our communities and as such takes these matters very seriously. Councillors have been actively and passionately advocating for the region to both the State and Commonwealth Governments. We believe that the current methodology that defines “sustainability” for local governments is flawed and fundamentally cannot be achieved by a Council like ours.
Councillors have solidified the viewpoint that “a sustainable Council may not equal a sustainable community” and therefore our goal is “a sustainable community run by the most effective and efficient Council possible”.
- Council needs to address its operating deficit to be considered sustainable by the State Government.
- $1.5 million in cost savings/revenue increases needs to be realised in 19/20.
- We are needing to reduce costs and increase efficiencies across the organisation.
- We are not closing any depots or administration offices across the region.
- We are engaging and investing in a regional workforce that is more flexible, mobile and effective to service the region.
- Council is strongly advocating to both State and Federal Governments for financial assistance and fairer access to external funding opportunities.