Budget delivers infrastructure and plans for Metro

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk will today unveil a $3 billion Budget for 2017/18 that invests a record $655 million in public and active transport including the detailed planning of Brisbane Metro and a commitment to fund two thirds of the $944 million project.

Cr Quirk said his Budget was a positive plan that also includes delivering more than $1 billion on infrastructure to reduce traffic congestion, committing $441 million to improve the city’s economic prosperity and $307 million for new lifestyle and leisure opportunities.

“This Budget reflects our ongoing dedication and enthusiasm toward keeping Brisbane on the right track,” he said.

“This is a modest Budget which I believe not only ticks all the boxes when it comes to retaining our strong credit rating but it also allocates enough funds to deliver on our promise to be the majority funder of the new Brisbane Metro.

“The business case confirms the project is a cost-effective solution that unlocks the potential of the existing busway infrastructure and lays the foundation for future growth.

“Importantly the Brisbane Metro will improve our lifestyle and leisure opportunities by providing an average of a one hour weekly travel time saving for metro commuters.

“The Budget has $50 million in funding for 2017/18 to prepare a concept design and impact management plan, undertake site investigations and progress project approvals for the delivery of the project and commence procurement activities.”

During the next four years $430 million is allocated to the project as well as revenue of $300 million. Subject to funding and government approvals, construction of Brisbane Metro could commence in 2019, with the project completed in 2022.

Cr Quirk said Council’s future borrowings over the next decade would be reduced by $425 million due to the reduced cost of the expanded Brisbane Metro with the net debt per capita for 2017/18 reduced by 18 per cent (from $1,806 to $1,475).

Subject to funding and government approvals, construction of Brisbane Metro could commence in 2019, with the project completed in 2022.

Cr Quirk said his Budget continued to deliver value for money for ratepayers by keeping minimum net rates bills the lowest in the region, while still providing funding for public transport and pensioner remissions.

Brisbane residents for many years have enjoyed the benefits of the lowest minimum rates in south east Queensland and although rising in this Budget by $50 for owner occupied properties, the minimum rates remain the lowest in the region by a significant margin.

The average increase in rates for owner occupied residential properties in 2017/18 will be 2.4%, a rise of $37 which equates to $9.41 per quarterly rates notice or $0.72 per week.
Average rates for commercial properties will also rise by 2.4 per cent, as will the average increase to Council fees and charges, including general waste.

“With the continued investment in much needed infrastructure, my team have worked hard to keep this increase as low as possible while providing sound economic management,” he said.

“The Budget retains our most generous pensioner remission scheme in Australia, with a Council-funded 40 per cent remission on the rates bill for full pensioners, increasing from a maximum of $967 to $990. Part pensioners will receive a 20 per cent remission on the rates bill that rises from a maximum of $451 in 2016/17 to $462 in 2017/18.

“More than 41,000 pensioners will receive a water remission rebate, to a maximum of $300 for full pensioners and $150 for part pensioners, the only discount provided by any South East Queensland local government on water and sewerage accounts.

“This Budget is delivered with the continued burden of public transport subsidies and contributions made by this council of $124 million – a cost borne by State governments elsewhere in Australia.

“This administration takes bus driver and passenger safety very seriously and I have allocated $2.7 million over two years towards implementing the recommendations from Council’s bus safety review completed earlier this year.

“The Budget includes $307 million to create new lifestyle and leisure opportunities at better facilities and venues for all ages to enjoy.

“This investment will deliver new outdoor gyms and exercise equipment, park and playground upgrades and new aqua parks and pool upgrades.

“I am also committing $11.5 million to the Mount Coot-tha precinct, enhancing it as a tourist, leisure and adventure destination with a new zipline, picnic areas and walking trails.”

Highlights of Brisbane’s $3 billion 2017-18 Budget include:

• $1.09 billion to reduce traffic congestion including $223 million on Kingsford Smith Drive, $81 million on Telegraph Rd and $30 million on Wynnum Road corridor.

• $655 million on public and active transport including $50 million to progress Brisbane Metro, $28 million on bikeways and $124 million public transport subsidy.

• $583 million to keep Brisbane clean, green and sustainable including $94 million on drainage maintenance and $5.9 million for Council to remain 100% carbon neutral.

• $441 million on economic development including $6.3 million to attract tourism and major events and $249,000 for expansion of free Wi-Fi into suburban centres.

• $307 million on new lifestyle and leisure opportunities including $69 million on libraries and $7.4 million for aqua centres and pool upgrades in 2017/18.