BRISBANE Lord Mayor Graham Quirk last week unveiled a $3 billion Budget for 2016-17 that invests $781.7 million into real action on traffic congestion, $539 million for a sustainable city and $223.7 million into public transport.
The Lord Mayor said his Budget was a positive plan for the city, delivering real action on traffic congestion, new lifestyle and leisure opportunities, and sound financial management to keep Brisbane's economy heading in the right direction.
"This Budget focuses on the infrastructure this city needs going forward, and over the next four years sets aside more than $221 million to continue investigations and start construction for the Brisbane Metro," Cr Quirk said.
"A further $1.3 billion has also been allocated for over 90 road projects over four years including Wynnum Road, Telegraph Road, Kingsford Smith Drive and the Inner City Bypass.
"Our cycling infrastructure will also be boosted through a $100 million investment in this Budget over the coming four years, in addition to a new CityCat, SpeedyCat express services, and new buses.
"As the only City Council in Australia that runs a public transport system and provides a public transport subsidy, my Budget provides a record investment into operational costs of public transport, with a $122 million subsidy for the coming year.
"This Budget also invests $719.7 million to contribute to the lifestyle of Brisbane including new water features, extended library opening hours, new outdoor gyms, new and improved parklands, new aqua parks, festival funding and new competition-level BMX tracks.
"Major tourist destination Mt Coot-tha will benefit from a total $13.6 million upgrade over the coming four years, including the previously announced new Visitor Information Centre, major upgrades to bushwalking facilities, a new zipline attraction and enhancements at JC Slaughter Falls and Simpson Falls.
"Over the next four years, as part of this Budget, free Council Wi-Fi will be rolled out at eight suburban destination shopping precincts, to boost suburban small businesses by enticing more visitors to stay longer in these local shopping areas.
"My Budget also makes our city safer, with a further 35 CitySafe network CCTV cameras to extend the reach of the network across entertainment precincts in the CBD and Fortitude Valley, as part of a $2.8 million project."
Cr Quirk said that in order to protect the lifestyle of Brisbane and deliver the infrastructure vital to the city's future, both operational savings and rate rises had been required in his 2016/17 Budget.
"Brisbane residents for many years have enjoyed the benefits of the lowest minimum rates in South East Queensland and although rising in this Budget our minimum rates remain the lowest in the region by a significant margin. An increase in this Budget allows us to start the heavy-lifting to deliver the Brisbane Metro and a $1.3 billion package of road projects attacking congestion."
"While there is a financial impact by delivering such a major project, in this Budget and future Budgets, I am committed to keeping any rate rises as minimal as possible, which is why I have also delivered savings in operating costs in the current year."
The average residential rates bill will increase by $1.35 per week to a quarterly cost of $346.09, an increase of 4.7 per cent. Council's fees and charges and will increase by an average of 5 per cent.
Highlights from the 2016-17 Budget include:
- $16 million to develop the Brisbane Metro Subway System Business Case in the coming year;
- $4.6 million for continued support of Brisbane's State Emergency Services (SES), to aid our city's storm prepared-ness and boost depot capacity with a new training facility in Morningside;
- $9.3 million for upgrades of river's edge facilities over the next four years including public mooring facilities, fishing platforms, public pontoons and boat ramp facilities;
- $10.3 million to enhance library services in 16/17 with a new pop-up outdoor library and extended Saturday opening hours;
- $18.3 million to continue implementing the recommendations of the Brisbane 2022 New World City Action Plan; and
- $3.3 million for four new large kids aqua parks, to be built over the next three years.