Community at heart of 2024-25 Budget

Sunshine Coast Council’s 2024-25 Budget will create healthier and happier communities

Sunshine Coast Council has handed down its 2024-25 Budget that promises to “make a difference to people’s daily lives”.

While this Budget prepares the region for growth and a bright future, it provides a renewed focus on supporting our community now.

Sunshine Coast Mayor Rosanna Natoli said the Budget – the first for this term of Council – included benefits for everyone.

“Community is at the heart of every decision made in this Budget,” Mayor Natoli said.

“We are putting community first, with a focus on community spaces, parklands and infrastructure for all.

“We’re improving transport, roads, pathways and community facilities, ensuring smoother travel and better sports and community spaces.

“Our residents will be supported thanks to increased pensioner rates concessions, initiatives for housing and family violence prevention and programs to shape a healthy, connected community.

“We’ve also made changes to our rate charges, to ensure fairness despite the State’s increased property valuations.

“Our local businesses and our economy are being supported with a capital works program that is creating jobs.

“Our environment is also front and centre with projects and programs that protect our habitat, rejuvenate our ecosystems and restore our coastal areas.

“This Council wanted this Budget to contain benefits for all residents no matter where they live, from the north to the south, east to west and everywhere in between.

“We are mindful of our community’s expectations and want to deliver the high standard of services our residents and visitors deserve while balancing that with being financially responsible.”

Enhancing our natural assets and lifestyle

Mayor Natoli said there would be more funds for Council’s vast outdoor operations, which cared for almost 1100 hectares of parklands and reserves – equivalent to almost 1500 football fields.

“This Budget is a result of listening and responding to what our community wants – it is designed to reduce wait times for trees to be trimmed and grass to be mowed.

“In fact, over the next four years, we will boost anticipated spending by almost $28 million, investing in our parks and gardens, including increasing our arborist activities.”

$283 million capital works program

Mayor Natoli said, backed by a $283 million capital works program, the Budget would target the small things that made a big difference to people’s lives each day.

“This will range from creating pathways, cycleways and footbridges that will keep us healthy and connected, to shaping beautiful outdoor spaces so we can better bond with nature and each other,” she said.

“There is also a greater investment in improving our roads by identifying and fixing potholes more swiftly and by significantly increasing our investment in sealing gravel roads in our hinterland – this year allocating $8 million, up from $5 million.

“Our hinterland will be further supported, including our historic centres of Maleny, Eumundi and Nambour, which have such passionate and engaged communities.

“They will receive much-needed funds to enhance their streetscapes and facilities, which will delight residents, visitors and businesses.”

Capital works program highlights include:

Responsible Budget with community at its core

“This Budget understands that many in our community have been impacted by cost-of-living pressures affecting so many across our nation,” Mayor Natoli said.

“While Council is required, by law, to use the State Government’s valuation figures to calculate the general rate, we have made adjustments to mitigate the full impact of the valuation increase.

“The majority of owner-occupiers will remain on the minimum general rate of $1,477 per annum – an increase of $70.50 per annum (5 per cent) or $1.36 per week.

“Overall, rates and charges, including waste and levies, for the majority of owner occupiers on the minimum general rate will increase by less than $2 a week to $2053 per annum.

“More than 60 per cent of residential ratepayers pay the minimum general rate.

“This has been balanced with the challenge of accommodating the increasing costs of delivering infrastructure and services.

“I am also pleased to announce that all eligible pensioners will benefit from a 5per cent increase in their pensioner rate concession, collectively saving our pensioners $4.6 million.

“This is aimed to help those in our community who are unable to increase their incomes to offset cost-of-living pressures.

“A single pensioner on a full pension will now receive $304 per year, while a pensioner couple on a full pension will receive $238 per year.

“Single and couple part pensioners will now receive $152 and $87 per year, respectively.

“And in good news for pensioners who have just purchased a home on the Sunshine Coast – they will now be immediately eligible for the pensioner rate concession as we have waived the three-year waiting period.

“We are also mindful that many people may be experiencing financial hardship and we encourage them to contact Council before their rates are due to arrange a payment-by-instalments agreement over a six-month period, without interest being charged.”

Housing and homelessness support

Mayor Natoli said that like many regions across Australia, the Sunshine Coast was experiencing significant housing affordability challenges and increased levels of homelessness.

“Council recognises that this is a situation that is difficult to quickly rectify and one that requires effort from all tiers of government, as well as the private sector, relevant industry associations and peak bodies as well as community housing organisations,” she said.

“This Budget will continue to support the initiatives of the Sunshine Coast Housing and Homelessness Action Plan 2023.

“This includes providing infrastructure charges rebates for eligible community organisations, a reduced Development Application fee for not-for-profit development applicants and a New Planning Scheme that will consider opportunities for more diverse housing types across the region.

“We will investigate affordable and social housing development opportunities, including funding and partnership models, using underutilised and suitable Council land and/or buildings.

“We are also providing new funding to employ a Public Safety Liaison Officer, who will work in public spaces with people who are experiencing homelessness, to enhance safety, connection and, when appropriate, assist linking them with support services and pathways to exit homelessness.”

How we are supporting the economy

This Budget will help forge a $33 billion economy by supporting Council’s newly refreshed Regional Economic Development Strategy.

“The strategy is growing the number of jobs in high value industries, increasing exports of locally produced goods and elevating household incomes,” Mayor Natoli said.

“Council is working closely with small businesses as well as promoting the Sunshine Coast as an ideal location for start-ups, scale-ups and investors.

“Our successful Major Events Strategy will deliver more than $100 million dollars in economic benefits.

“Council’s strong partnership with Visit Sunshine Coast will also ensure the region continues to attract the visitors so vital to the prosperity of our tourism and hospitality businesses.”

Emphasis on environment and sustainability

Mayor Natoli said the Budget would help grow the region’s reputation as a champion of sustainability, evidenced by its designation as a UNESCO Biosphere.

“The Sunshine Coast Biosphere is our commitment to a sustainable future,” she said.

“The Biosphere is a way of life, caring for our environment, creating thriving communities and growing our local economy.

“It is another example of how we are working with our community to nurture and enhance our environment and quality of life.”

Council’s Environment Levy of $82, paid by all ratepayers, will remain the same as last year.

The levy will be used to protect and enhance our valued natural environment, including our native plants and animals, waterways and wetlands and coastal areas. 

It will continue to support the expansion and management of Council’s conservation estate for a range of habitat preservation, catchment management and coastal rehabilitation projects.

The Healthy Coast program will invest more than $1.7 million in coastal dunal rehabilitation, shoreline erosion management and coastal health monitoring.

Another $1.1 million will go towards managing invasive plants and animals.

Community connections

Connecting our communities and encouraging travel behaviour change will also be front and centre of the work delivered using the proceeds of the Transport Levy – which remains the same as last year, at $47 per property.

Mayor Natoli said Council, for the first time, would reallocate an additional $3.3 million of the $7.3 million raised to schedule the highest priority safety-related projects for those most at risk.

“Priority will be given to projects that enhance pedestrian safety around schools, retirement villages and medical facilities, aiding the young, elderly and those with mobility issues,” she said.

“It’s important that these types of projects get underway sooner rather than later to help the more vulnerable people in our community, more quickly.”

The Transport Levy will also support Council’s contribution to future public transport needs, with $1.5 million (20 per cent) being invested into the Futures Fund this year.

In 2024-25, $1 million of the $24.7 million Futures Fund will be allocated to advance the State Government’s business case preparation for the Sunshine Coast Public Transport project and advance preparations to deliver the Direct Sunshine Coast Rail project.

The levy will also continue supporting trial transport services from Conondale to Maleny and Peachester to Beerwah (FlexiLink); the door-to-door service for eligible persons to their nearest centre once a week (Council Link); the Kenilworth Community Transport Services, and the Yandina bus service realignment.

It will also improve accessibility at bus stops and continue to implement the ThinkChange program encouraging reduced vehicle use in favour of public or active transport.

Council will provide $300,000 to investigate, in partnership with TransLink, a high-frequency, hop-on, hop-off bus service linking key coastal destinations.

Celebrating Arts and Heritage

The Arts and Heritage Levy will increase by $2 to $20 to raise more than $3.1 million.

The $2 increase will be allocated to the Arts Program, increasing it to $6 per rateable property.

This will raise $312,858 to fund Sunshine Coast Creative Arts Plan 2023-2038 initiatives that develop and deliver projects that provide both career pathways for local artists and programs to build local participants and audiences.

Mayor Natoli said the increase to the levy would also support the growth and development of Council’s multi-arts Horizon Festival, a world-class cultural offering that will showcase the region before, during and after the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“It will also create a Cultural Olympiad futures fund to support the costs to deliver an appropriate cultural program, anticipated to reach $1.25 million by 2032,” she said.

The Heritage Levy component underpins the Sunshine Coast Heritage Plan 2021–2031, which backs new research into regional stories, conserves our region’s heritage assets – including State Heritage-listed Bankfoot House and its nationally significant collection – and supports our region’s community museums and heritage organisations through grants, practical workshops, professional development, community programs, collaborative marketing and events.

Creating a legacy from a golden opportunity

Mayor Natoli said the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which the Sunshine Coast would proudly co-host, may be eight years away, but the benefits for our region would be arriving soon and would last long after the global event.

“It’s exciting to see a huge investment of $7 million into the $148 million Sunshine Coast Stadium expansion project this financial year,” Mayor Natoli said.

“The project is primarily funded by the Queensland and Australian Governments and includes a Council contribution of $17 million over three financial years.”

The expansion will deliver additional seating, taking total fixed seating capacity to more than 10,500.

By utilising the mounds at the northern and southern ends, the stadium will have a total capacity of approximately 14,500.

Additional temporary seating will be installed to boost the total seating capacity to 20,000 to accommodate the Olympic football (soccer) matches in 2032.

Early works will start later this year with construction planned to start in 2025, creating an estimated 650 jobs.

It is due for completion in 2027 for the community to enjoy well before the Games come to the Sunshine Coast.

The 2024-25 Budget was adopted at a Special Meeting on Thursday, June 20.

For more information and full budget details, please visit Council’s website.

This Budget includes:

  • $391 million to develop a strong community
  • $289 million to maintain and enhance our environment and liveability
  • $37 million to build our resilient economy
  • $140 million to deliver service excellence.

Services and program highlights:

  • $29.2 million for road maintenance of sealed and unsealed roads
  • $7.6 million for dredging and beach renourishment works
  • $13.2 million for libraries and a further $4 million for our book replacement program
  • $19.7 million for park, turf and landscape maintenance
  • $2.4 million for our sponsorship of major events
  • $4 million for grants and partnerships.

Key local projects in Council’s $283 million Capital Works Program include:

Road/cycleway network

  • $25 million to reseal and rehabilitate Council’s sealed road network
  • $1.5 million for Commissioners Flat Road, Peachester for road safety
  • $17.5 million to construct the Caloundra Transport Corridor Upgrade
  • $5.8 million to continue construction of Stringybark Road pedestrian and cyclist bridge, Sippy Downs*
  • $1.9 million to upgrade North Arm Road Gravel Road to sealed road standard
  • $1.7 million to upgrade Lakewood Drive and Monak Road Gravel Road to sealed road standard
  • $5.8 million to upgrade the Power Road and Dixon Road, Buderim intersection

Stormwater

  • $1.6 million to upgrade the drainage system at Buderim Street to Coondibah Creek, Battery Hill

Streetscaping

  • $3.4 million to finalise placemaking and streetscape works in Eumundi Town Centre
  • $2.9 million to continue work on Maleny Business Centre Streetscape works, Maple Street+
  • $3.7 million to begin delivery of the Mooloolaba Foreshore Stage 2 Central Meeting Place Streetscape works+

Sport and Recreation

  • $18.1 million to continue construction of the Honey Farm Sports and Recreation Precinct
  • $7.4 million to complete upgrade of Kawana Waters Regional Aquatic Centre+
  • $1.5 million for rebuild of Caloundra City Churches Soccer Clubhouse and Fields

Community Facilities

  • $27.2 million to finalise construction of the new district library and community meeting space at Caloundra
  • $7 million for construction of the Outdoor Stadium Expansion
  • $1.8 million to progress design of Nambour Administration Precinct

Coast, Canals and Waterways

  • $3.9 million for Moffat Beach Seawall Stabilisation Works*
  • $3.5 million for Golden Beach Foreshore Upgrade TS Onslow to Nelson Street*

Environmental Tracks Trails and Infrastructure

  • $1.2 million for development of Sunshine Coast Nature Base Recreation Precinct at Maroochy River**

*Proudly funded by the Queensland Government in association with Sunshine Coast Council

**Proudly funded by the Queensland Government and Australian Government in association with Sunshine Coast Council

+Proudly funded by the Australian Government in association with Sunshine Coast Council

2024-25 Minimum General Rate Notice

The majority of owner-occupiers will remain on the minimum general rate of $1,477 per annum – an increase of $70.50 per annum (5 per cent) or $1.36 per week.

More than 60 per cent of residential ratepayers pay the minimum general rate.

Total Rates and Charges2023-242024-25Variation $
Minimum General Rate1,406.501,477.0070.50
240 Litre Wheelie Bin, recycling bin and waste bin360.30388.0028.30
240 Litre Garden Organics Bin36.0038.002.00
Environment Levy82.0082.000.00
Transport Levy47.0047.000.00
Arts and Heritage Levy18.0020.002.00
Total Rates and Charges1,949.802,052.60102.80

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