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No 'financial holes' here as Noosa stays strong

Noosa Council is bucking the financial wobbles trend affecting other councils.
Noosa Council is bucking the financial wobbles trend affecting other councils. Geoff Potter

NOOSA Council's rock solid financial footing is in stark contrast to almost half of the state's recently audited local governments which found almost half to be in deficit.

Mayor Tony Wellington said the Queensland audit revealed that 24 of the 77 reviewed were forecasting deficits for the next decade.

This has led state-wide concerns that the struggling shires that are reliant on decreasing government grants will be unable to meet community demands for basic services like road maintenance.

"Ultimately Noosa ratepayers can rest assured that they have a financially secure council that is delivering value for money as well as maintaining its assets," Cr Wellington said.

"And that's a far cry from the situation facing many Queensland ratepayers.

"Unlike many Queensland councils, Noosa is in a strong financial position," Cr Wellington said.

The mayor said Noosa had achieved operating surpluses over the past two years and forecasts showed that trend would continue into the future.

"This is a result of prudent financial management, including the adoption of an innovative zero-based budgeting technique," Cr Wellington said.

The mayor said the council's cash balance increased from $51 million to $53 million, while at the same time delivering a solid capital works program.

"And we managed this with only a tiny general rate rise to meet cost increases."

Corporate Services director Michael Shave says Noosa staff have embraced zero-based budgeting since it was introduced when the new council came into being.

"I believe we were the first Queensland local government to use this approach. It allows us to eliminate wasteful spending and drive the ratepayer dollar further," he said.

"Zero-based budgeting means departments must build their budgets from scratch each year, instead of simply rolling forward last year's budget and adding on inflation. That means better scrutiny of every dollar in the budget.

"It's a whole-of-organisation effort to cut waste and improve efficiency. In 2015 for example, this process freed up more than $2.5 million for new initiatives.

"There were plenty of naysayers who said we couldn't become financially sound.

"Some of them continue to claim that we are in financial straits.

"Yet the QTC ratings and this new State-wide QAO Report both prove just how financially solid Noosa Council is."

Topics:  audit noosa council


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