Vision of Budget surplus allows room to grow
MAYOR Bob Manning's commitment to delivering a budget surplus next year has been praised by the Cairns region's peak business and industry body.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland regional chairman Brett Moller applauded the council’s bid to move its balance sheet back into the black.
Cairns Regional Council Budget 2013
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“To be in surplus means you’re not paying interest and it is allowing for more capital projects and more money back into the community,” he said.
“It enables infrastructure and shows you have a healthy budget.”
The council has forecast an operating deficit of $6.6 million this financial year, but Cr Manning said anticipated growth and a further rates increase of 4 or 5 per cent next year would help return the council to a surplus.
“Next year we will look to bring the budget back into balance,” he said.
Cr Manning described the no-frills Budget delivered yesterday as “cautious” and “conservative”.
“It’s not an aggressive Budget. We tried to keep it tight for people who are having a hard time making ends meet,” he said.
The council has allocated $93.75 million to its capital works program, down from last year’s amount of $151 million.
Mr Moller said the reduced capital works Budget was a sign of the times.
“While we would like to see an increase but we understand in today’s environment they need to be fiscally responsible to look to return to surplus,” Mr Moller said.
“It’s obviously a Budget that recognises pressures on families and pressures on business.”
The council will also offer up to $500,000 to encourage large-scale investment, as well as $200,000 through the economic diversification fund to support economic growth through job creation and investment.
The Budget also includes continued financial support to the region’s primary marketing bodies including Tourism Tropical North Queensland ($480,000), Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree ($430,000) and Advance Cairns ($250,000).
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The right direction: Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland regional chairman Brett Moller applauded council's bid to move its balance sheet back into the black. Picture: TALIA LING.