Thursday, 23 June 2022

Bundaberg Council silent on disastrous State Budget

Local MPs are calling on the Bundaberg Regional Council to condemn the disastrous 2022/33 Queensland State Labor Budget.

The budget has unveiled a 40 per cent cut to Local Government funding under the Works for Queensland program.

Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett and Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said they can’t understand why the Bundaberg Regional Council has remained silent over such a terrible budget.  

Mr Bennett said local councils across the state will not be able to support their current workforce with 26 000 jobs at risk given this massive cut.

“In last year’s Budget, $148 million was allocated for Works for Queensland, this year it’s just $88 million,” he said.

“The bad news doesn’t end there with the Waste Levy also on the rise, this means more taxes on locals when they visit council dumps.

“The levy rate was $85 per tonne from July 2021 to June 2022, that’s up from $75 when introduced in 2019.

“The State Government is asking for $672.4 million in upfront advance waste levy payments over four years!

“Finally, most alarming to me is the lack of funding for our local roads. I can’t stress how vital this funding is.

“It maintains a huge network of local government roads but there has been no increase in funding yet again. This has been the case since 2015.

“Overall, the budget reflects a 60 per cent reduction in available funding to Bundaberg and Gladstone Regional Councils.

“How can our council’s stand by and see a massive funding cut and a huge waste levy increase and not call the State out on it?”

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said the Bundaberg Mayor was quick to say the Federal Budget in March was good “for koalas and Antarctica but not so good for Hinkler”.

“We now know that the Mayor’s criticism of the Federal Budget was because he was setting up a platform of issues to run on as an independent candidate in the Federal election.

“When it comes to the State Government however, why hasn’t the Mayor called out the State on its Budget which has delivered very little for the region, but re-announced projects and only a tiny portion of funding for Paradise Dam and initial works on the new hospital?

“The new taxes on businesses and demand for a waste levy be paid in advance will affect Bundaberg ratepayers, so why isn’t the Mayor standing up for them?”

Mr Bennett said the local council could also be slugged with the responsibility of introducing a ‘visitor tax’ at some of the region’s most iconic tourist attractions.

“This tax was all about creating more revenue streams to line the State Government’s pockets.

“How does our council feel about having to demand cash from local residents each time they take a stroll through the Mon Repos National Park or check out the Southern Great Barrier Reef in their backyard?”

Mr Pitt said it’s time we see some leadership on a local government level.

“It’s no secret the Bundaberg Mayor has been ‘distracted’, now we need our council leaders to step up and focus on what really matters.

“We need to stand together and call out the many failures of the State Labor Government.”

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