Ipswich City Council has released a record $621 million budget for 2022-2023 with a focus on flood recovery, delivering first-class services and keeping pace with rapid growth and transformation of the region.
The Ipswich City Council 2022-2023 Budget includes a total rates and charges rise of 4.49 per cent or $1.48 per week. The average general rate increase for residential properties will rise 3.95 per cent.
Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said council had struck a balance between limiting the financial impact on ratepayers and residents, while ensuring it is preparing the city for future growth and opportunities.
“Ipswich City Council remains focused on the recovery of our city from flooding, while keeping pace with the rapid growth and transformation by investing in upgrades and infrastructure with a vision for the future,” Mayor Harding said.
“The Ipswich City Council 2022-2023 Annual Plan, including the 2022–2023 Budget, Operational Plan, three-year Capital Works Program, and 10-year long term financial forecast, sets out how we plan to move our city forward.
“Council has worked hard to maintain a sound financial position despite external forces such as two major flood events earlier this year, the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, inflation, and rising costs.
“We are exercising tight controls over spending, while focusing investment in critical areas such as flood recovery, upgrades and services to continue delivering for the Ipswich community.
“The average residential owner occupier will pay a general rate of $1,467 for 2022-2023.”
Mayor Harding said council would deliver a $229 million capital works program in 2022-2023, part of a three-year program totalling $473 million.
In the next financial year, council will spend $41.5 million on the Nicholas Street Precinct, $41 million on strategic transport projects, $47 million on asset rehabilitation and $13 million on parks, sport and the environment.
“We have also allocated $30 million in the coming financial year for flood recovery. Our city was hit extremely hard by twin weather events this year and many parts are only just recovering,” Mayor Harding said.
“Council will invest significant time and money into getting our city back into top condition, including many of our parks and sporting fields.
“Council repaired 3,000 potholes already this year as a result of flooding. We have set aside a further $1 million to fix 6,000 potholes over the next financial year.
“We will spend a total of $78 million maintaining, upgrading and expanding our road network. This includes further work on the upgrading and duplication of the Springfield Parkway and Springfield Greenbank Arterial Road – council’s largest ever road construction project.
“More than $31 million has been set aside for rehabilitation of sealed and gravel roads, plus new and upgraded kerb and channels.”
In a first for council, a new part-pension concession will bring rates relief for those most in need.
“From 1 July 2022 residential owner occupiers who receive a part-pension will be eligible to receive a pensioner remission of up to $120 per annum,” Mayor Harding said.
“About 3,500 part-pensioners will be provided the remission with the new program costing council $430,000.
“The $120 per annum concession will be available for all eligible pensioners regardless of the level of their pension.”
Mayor Harding said this year’s council budget was prepared amid a unique set of circumstances and financial pressures on several fronts.
“Ipswich residents are facing cost pressures like never before: rising interest rates on home mortgages, spiralling petrol prices, grocery bills jumping almost daily. We know people are taking a hit in the back pocket and it is impacting everywhere,” Cr Harding said.
“Obviously, council is not immune to the cost pressures of inflation and effects on our supply chains.
“Council had some tough decisions to make as we balance community need in our fast-growing city with financial responsibility.”
View towards White Rock, Ipswich from Ipswich Central.
The commercial rates rise was set at 3.45 per cent, while noxious industry rates rise 6.95 per cent.
The Food and Garden Organics (FOGO) bin service fee remains unchanged at $80 as council looks at moving beyond the 1,000-home trial program to more suburbs across the city later this year.
The waste utility charge has risen $20 to $397 and the Enviroplan levy will go up by $1 to $52 and the rural fire levy remains steady at $3.
“The provision of waste services to the community is one of the core responsibilities of council, provided through Ipswich Waste Services, its own internal commercial business unit,” Mayor Harding said.
“With high growth rates comes the ever-increasing challenge of maintaining and managing the city’s waste system – this coming financial year will see the arrival of the first tranche of the new sidearm waste collection vehicles to replace the current fleet, and 22 of the initial 28 ordered are currently scheduled to arrive in this period.
“On top of the vehicles needed, we are also planning and funding the infrastructure to provide the services we know the community expects.”
Council Resource Recovery driver Belinda Janson.
“In 2022-2023, we will see the first part of an ongoing multi-year investment in Recycling and Refuse Centre upgrades at Riverview and development works in the western corridor,” Mayor Harding said.
“Council has also allocated $6.3 million towards a new Materials Recovery Facility, in partnership with Logan and Redlands City councils, to process the city’s yellow top recycling.
“Site works are planned to commence in this coming financial year, in preparation for construction the following year.
“The Councillors and I have great optimism this budget will help us to power into a post-COVID era and sets the scene for Ipswich to continue to be a great place to live, work, invest and to raise a family.”
Cr Russell Milligan, Cr Kate Kunzelmann, Cr Marnie Doyle, Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding, Cr Paul Tully, Cr Sheila Ireland, Cr Nicole Jonic and Deputy Mayor Jacob Madsen with council’s 2022-2023 Budget.