General News

5 July, 2024

10% rate hike

Toowoomba Region Mayor Geoff McDonald has announced that Oakey residents will be hit with an average rate increase of ten per cent.

A big local announcement in this year’s Budget was that Kingsthorpe Reservoir’s two existing tanks on the side of Mount Kingsthorpe will be replaced by one tank.
A big local announcement in this year’s Budget was that Kingsthorpe Reservoir’s two existing tanks on the side of Mount Kingsthorpe will be replaced by one tank.

Mayor McDonald said Council’s $703.6 million financial plan would allow it to maintain and upgrade existing facilities and services.

“We remain mindful of the cost-of-living pressures that continue to challenge families right across the Toowoomba Region,” the Mayor said.

“That is why we’ve delivered a cautious and considered financial plan with a responsible rate rise.

“The general rate will rise 5 per cent with the majority of urban residential ratepayers facing an average increase of $3.91 per week, and keeping in mind that changes will of course depend on individual circumstances.”

General main town rates in Oakey will increase on average at a percentage of
10 per cent from an average of $1058 last year to $1164.

The Mayor said this was a reasonable rise given the rising costs of materials and services to Council due to insurance premiums.

He said financial stability is a key focus for Council, with the massive Cressbrook Dam project taking up a sizable chunk of the total budget spend.

Locally, Kingsthorpe Reservoir, which is supplied by the Toowoomba to Oakey Pipeline from Mt Kynoch Water Treatment Plant will more than triple in capacity to reflect the growing nature of the town, which has a total population of 2,159 people.

Deputy Mayor and Strategic Water Planning and Capital Delivery portfolio spokesperson Cr Rebecca Vonhoff said the two existing 75kL (kilolitre) tanks will be replaced with a 500kL reservoir at the Emmanulla Drive site.

“The current tanks supply water to higher elevation properties in Kingsthorpe’s east,” she said.

“The larger reservoir will allow Council to service the growing population of Kingsthorpe into the future

Mayor McDonald said TRC would ensure core Council operations are well maintained over the next year including parks and gardens, and  libraries and recreation facilities.

“Council remains committed to implementing a responsible and calculated financial approach in its Budget planning and delivery and has budgeted for a surplus of more than $937,000 this coming financial year,” he said.

“Council’s obligation to maintain our existing infrastructure and our ability to manage our $6.2 billion asset base across 13,000km² is a key performance indicator by which we are evaluated by the Queensland Treasury Corporation, which has recently affirmed our financial position as Sound with a Neutral Outlook.

“$98.2 million is set aside in this Budget for Capital Works Projects across the Region, plus a further $22.5 million for the ongoing Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DFRA) Flood Recovery Program and $110.6 million for the Cressbrook Dam Safety Improvement Project,” Mayor McDonald said.

“Cost increases to materials and services are having significant impacts on our operations, with Council continuing to shoulder many price rises on behalf of our ratepayers.

“A key example of this is how Council expects our insurance premiums to increase almost $900,000 in 2024-25, an increase of more than 30% across some of our insurance products. This is an increase that is simply unavoidable, but ultimately effects our bottom line.

“An extra $100,000 is also allocated this year for Council to deal with the continued rise in electricity costs.”

The Mayor said Council’s budget was focussed on saving for the future.

“Despite many external demands, Council continues to work in accordance with our long-term financial sustainability parameters to ensure we budget for essential capital works and services that support our communities for the coming year and into the future,” he said.

“Council’s overall operational and capital expenditure parameters are based on our 10-year Long Term Financial Forecast (LTFF), which is not only adopted by Council, but overseen by the Department of Local Government, the Queensland Treasury Corporation and Queensland Audit Office.

In other developments, the previous Environment Levy has been replaced with a Waste Facilities and Rehabilitation Levy, which will direct funds to the planning and delivery of new and existing TRC waste management facilities and rehabilitation of closed sites.

In the infrastructure division, the completion of the DFRA Flood Recovery Program will be a major focus with $22.5 million committed to completing the program this year.

Meanwhile, $2 million is committed to the second year of a 5-year plan to upgrade lower order roads in rural areas of the Region.

Outside of Kingsthorpe, there have been other developments in Water and Waste: $5.5 million for Stage Three of the Toowoomba Waste Management Centre vertical expansion, constructing a new lined cell over Cell A; and $3.3 million for the continued roll-out of smart water meters across the Region.


Notable elements of the budget include:

•Operational (service delivery) expenditure of $472.2 million

•A capital (infrastructure) program of $231.4 million

In the coming year, the major areas of capital expenditure will include:

•$33.5 million for water and wastewater projects (excluding Cressbrook Dam Safety Improvement project).

•$22.7 million for roads, drainage, footpaths and bikeways.

•$22.5 million to complete the 2022 DFRA Flood Recovery Program.

•$10.3 million for parks and recreation projects.

•$7.9 million for waste services.

•$6.4 million for community services and facilities.

•$3.3 million for business strategy and operations.


•$3 million is allocated to replace a timber bridge on Melrose Road at Brookstead and a further $2.5 million to begin the replacement of a timber bridge on Branchview Road at Branchview. Both bridges are crucial to these rural areas.

•$2.5 million for preliminary works in the establishment of the Toowoomba to Warwick Pipeline with investigations to be completed into the Greenmount and Southern water treatment plant.

•$2.4 million for the replacement of the Kearneys Spring Recreation Reserve Clubhouse and amenities, which services a range of user groups, including touch football and softball.

•$1.5 million committed for a pipeline to connect Vale View to the Toowoomba Bulk Water Supply.

A further $1 million commitment to the continued upgrade of O’Brien, Kratzke and Highfields Road intersection at Highfields for utility relocations.

•$840,000 to renew playground areas at parks in Pittsworth, Meringandan, Cooby Dam and Rangeville

•$500,000 for Lucy Street Park at Cambooya.


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