Council delivers achievements and strong financial position
1 November 2019
Despite the worsening drought and tighter economic conditions facing the community, the Southern Downs Regional Council achieved many triumphs and completed significant major works in the 2018-2019 financial year.
On Wednesday 23 October, the Southern Downs Regional Council adopted its 2018-2019 Annual Report and Financial Statements at the October General Council Meeting held in the Warwick Chambers and the report is available to the public at www.sdrc.qld.gov.au.
Southern Downs Councillor for Finance, Governance, and The Arts and Deputy Mayor Jo McNally encouraged residents to seek out the 2018-2019 Annual Report as it provides accurate information on Council’s operations and performance for the last financial year.
“The Annual Report is a comprehensive and accurate account of Council’s financial and non-financial operations for the previous financial year and plays a vital role as Council’s foremost accountability tool for corporate governance,” said Deputy Mayor McNally.
“It has been a challenging 12 months with ongoing drought and the recent bushfires and this year’s report is testament to the solid efforts of the organisation to deliver services and capital works to the Southern Downs community.
“As the Annual Report highlights, Council has also worked hard to deliver services and projects as well as maintain and upgrade infrastructure to ensure the Southern Downs is not only liveable but also sustainable.
“These projects provided much needed stimulation to the local economy and long-lasting benefits to the community and agricultural industries.
Southern Downs Regional Council CEO David Keenan added that the contents of the 2018-2019 Annual Report was a positive indicator for coming years as well.
“Council is now in a very healthy financial position, with debt projected to be under $20 million by the end of next financial year.
“I am also extremely pleased that Council staff successfully completed more than 90% of the Capital Works Program which is a significant improvement from previous years.”
Readers of the Annual Report will note that Council has revised the Community Financial Report this year.
The aim of the Community Financial Report is to provide information on Council’s financial performance and position that is meaningful and useful for the whole community.
Importantly, Council received an unmodified audit opinion for 2018-2019, with all of the audit targets being met and all of the financial sustainability ratios being within their target ranges.
“This is a great outcome but it doesn’t just happen. My thanks goes everyone who has been involved in ensuring high levels of financial management and responsibility are performed consistently,” said Mr Keenan.
“The core of the Southern Downs Regional Council is its employees; no doubt without their enthusiasm, dedication, community focus and work ethic, the substantial amount of work programs would not have been achieved.
“Over the next 12 months the true impact of the drought will have an influence on the local economy and Council is now in a position to support the community through this difficult time. Council’s financial position would not have been able to provide this necessary support 4 or 5 years ago.
“Council and the community have been focused on water preservation, security and contingency plans, and Council has been successful in securing substantial drought relief funding, especially from the State Government.
“Some of the major capital water projects which Council is particularly proud to have achieved include the installation of the new clarifier at the Warwick Water Treatment Plant, significant progress in the construction of the nine kilometre long raw water line from Storm King Dam to the Stanthorpe Water Treatment Plant, and the installation of new water standpipes across the region to provide easier water access for residents and visitors.”
Additional capital projects which were a highlight for 2018-2019 were the construction of new off-leash dog parks in Warwick and Stanthorpe, upgrades to the Lamb Selling Pens and Loading Ramps at the Warwick Saleyards, Stanthorpe Park Run Stage One, extended lighting along Quart Pot Creek, and the multitude of exciting projects completed under Works for Queensland 2017-2019 including Killarney Streetscape Stage Two, the Warwick Dungaree Memorial, the Warwick Men’s Shed Stage One, extension of the Stanthorpe Industrial Estate, new facilities at Connolly Dam, Warwick CBD road and footpath improvements, the extension to the Condamine River walk/cycleway and a new ‘Queenslander’ sign at Wallangarra.
Other report highlights include:
· Council completed the following projects which were funded through the Federal Government’s $1M Drought Communities Program: $150,000 for water carting, $200,000 for the Leyburn Auxiliary Water Treatment upgrade, $250,000 towards community hall upgrades and $200,000 for sporting and community groups to install water infrastructure.
· The completion of the Warwick Solar Farm heralded the start of a new energy sustainable future for the region.
· Council supported the Adina Polocrosse World Cup which cemented Warwick as a major sporting event destination.
· Urban Design Frameworks were developed for Wallangarra, Maryvale and Leyburn. Works will be undertaken in 2019-2020 to deliver actions from the frameworks. Future projects will follow in Dalveen and Ballandean.
· Council’s largest contract was awarded to Cleanaway for domestic waste collection.
· Shaping Southern Downs was adopted. This strategic document provides direction for growing our region and securing a sustainable future.
· Council received an unmodified audit opinion for 2018-2019, with all of the audit targets being met, which is a great outcome for Council and in particular the Finance team.
· All of Council’s Financial Sustainability ratios were within their targets.
· The operating surplus for the 2018-2019 year was $4.7 million.
· Council completed 92.5% of its Capital Works Program which is a significant improvement from previous years.
Contact Council on 1300 697 372 for more information.