MAYORAL candidate Cr Debbie Blumel has issued a financial policy
in response to what she has labelled ill-informed comments on how
she intends to fund future infrastructure on the Sunshine
Cr Blumel said under her leadership, Council would adopt a preference for infrastructure that provided a return on assets so that income from general rates was not required to service borrowings.
She said Council would not borrow for operating activities and any funds borrowed to provide critical infrastructure for the Coast would not exceed sustainability indicators recommended by the Queensland Treasury Corporation (QTC).
“The QTC sets three critical indicators to control borrowing and the current council is currently well within the recommended targets. It is forecast to remain there for the duration of its 10-year financial plan,” Cr Blumel said.
“I endorsed that financial plan as a councillor and will continue to support it as Mayor.”
Cr Blumel said the three QTC indicators were Council’s debt servicing ratio, its interest covering ratio and its net financial liabilities ratio. (see fact box below for details.)
She said while she would vigorously seek additional private sector investment for the Coast, it was normal procedure for councils to apply for state and federal government funding for major infrastructure.
She said some of her poorly informed critics seemed to be naively unaware that a percentage of taxes the Coast community paid to state and federal governments was redistributed to local government for major and minor projects.
“Some people don’t want to acknowledge that despite superficial and often theatrical posturing, the three levels of government do cooperate to try to improve living conditions throughout Australia,” Cr Blumel said.
“But it is up to individual councils to convince the upper tiers of government that funds are needed in their area, rather than in someone else’s area.
“My track record in attracting government funding as holder of the Major Projects Portfolio in Council is extremely good.”
Cr Blumel said she had successfully requested $1M from the Australian Government for a feasibility study for a Sunshine Coast Entertainment, Convention and Exhibition Centre and that funding to build the centre would be sought from the government, which is the usual funding source in Queensland, as well as the private sector.
“Through our taxes, the Sunshine Coast community is contributing to funding entertainment and convention centres in other parts of Queensland, the most recent example being in Cairns,” Cr Blumel said.
“The establishment of a centre for the Sunshine Coast is an important part of my campaign policy, but it was not arrived at unilaterally.
“Current councillors unanimously endorsed a resolution to refer it to the 2012/13 budget committee for the development of a funding strategy and, under my leadership, the new council will be guided by that advice.
“Similarly, through my leadership in the Major Projects Portfolio, $201 million for the Airport Master Plan is being sought through the federal government, though it is not required for two years when the environmental impact study has been completed.
“This application for airport funding also was unanimously supported by all current councillors.”