Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding says the new council will deliver its first budget next Tuesday (30 June), describing it as measured and reflective of the current economic times.
The mayor and new councillors have had little more than three months since being declared to deep-dive into the city’s $600 million annual budget and determine a strategy to move Ipswich forward, underpinned by a new era of transparency and governance.
Mayor Harding said the council had been faced with a significant amount of tough decisions, but was confident that the budget would deliver value during uncertain times.
“There is a clear direction to prioritise jobs, growth and investment in the city, while caring for our community,” she said.
Today Mayor Harding announced that services would not be cut and council would continue to work hard at improving service delivery to the public.
“I put my hand up to help the people of Ipswich and this budget will keep people in jobs and support the broader community,” she said.
“We know that every day people and local businesses are hurting and we are directing every effort to ensure this budget makes a difference and drives the recovery of our city.”
Not only is this her first budget as the 51st Mayor of Ipswich, but it will be delivered in the middle of Australia’s first recession in 29 years, brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
Council has been working with the business community during these unprecedented COVID-19 times.
“We will deliver extra measures in a Relief and Recovery Package, which will provide a further $850,000 relief towards Ipswich community and sporting groups and local businesses,” Mayor Harding said.
“We have an obligation to help stimulate the local economy and support our local associations, both of which form the fabric of our community.
“I want people to feel that council has their best interests at heart and I want this council to perform and demonstrate to the community why they should restore their trust in all of us.”
The mayor stressed that councillors had received a significant amount of community feedback during their election campaigns and from their time living and working in Ipswich – and this budget reflected they have listened to people.
“I am proud of how this council has worked closely with the CEO, executive leadership team and officers to learn about the organisation in great depth and develop this budget collaboratively,” she said.
“Ultimately, we represent the community and they have placed their trust in us to ensure that council delivers. It is now up to the CEO and officers to deliver, and we have confidence that with good leadership they will thrive.”
The 2020-21 City of Ipswich Budget will also feature a three-year capital program – a first for council – which includes $100 million for the ongoing redevelopment of the Ipswich CBD.