FUNDING for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and Evandale Cultural Precinct has been included in the City of Gold Coast Budget, handed down today.
Gold Coasters can expect a rates rise of 4.6 per-cent from July 1, which works out to be an additional $143.39 a year.
Water is also up, with charges set to increase 2.8 per cent, or $5.40.
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Mayor Tom Tate said council’s third budget is about respecting ratepayers, keeping our promises, protecting our lifestyle and fulfilling the aspirations of a community that wants more for their kids.
He thanked 2800 families, community groups and businesses that helped to shape the City Budget 2014/15.
Results from the landmark consultation will see Council prioritise the delivery of better transport, more local jobs, a stronger community and healthier environment while maintaining a focus on value for money.
Feedback on the repair, maintenance and availability of local amenities will see significant investments in park and playground maintenance; road, footpath and bikeway upgrades; and enhancements to community-owned facilities and sports fields.
“This budget delivers the services the city expects at a price all ratepayers can afford. It was shaped by thousands of residents who want great local facilities and a strong economy to give future generations every opportunity to live, learn and earn on the Gold Coast,” said Cr Tate.
Road users are big winners with millions earmarked for resealing, reconstruction and ongoing maintenance. A new Whole of City Parking Plan will see new electronic signage direct drivers to vacant spots and networked parking meters to match demand with supply.
“Investing in roads and public transport is our way of protecting our famous lifestyle. Smarter management of the existing road network and subsidies for public transport will alleviate congestion. Ultimately, it is about spending more time with loved ones and less in traffic,” said Cr Tate.
“Subject to State approval, we will fully fund a year-long extension to our trial of free off-peak travel for seniors on the city’s bus network. While an important transport reform, it is our greatest social reform and should continue.”
The Mayor’s third budget will secure future prosperity with funding to commence delivery of the Gold Coast Cultural Precinct, construction Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games™ venues and oversight of the proposed Broadwater Integrated Resort Development and cruise ship terminal.
“Locals recognise that the Gold Coast must play to its strengths and, in the face of global competition, give domestic and international tourists real reasons to return year after year,” said Cr Tate.
“The first stage of the Gold Coast Cultural Precinct will be a catalyst for private investment that will, in time, deliver one of the most recognisable cultural icons on the planet. It is our gift to future generations and will build a job-generating cultural economy.”
The Mayor said councillors have worked hard to maximise the return on the City’s investment in the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games having inherited no plan from the former Council.
“The last Council had no plan for the Commonwealth Games and a history of investing in facilities and assets that were ultimately owned by the State Government,” said Cr Tate said.
“Hard-fought negotiations with the State Government mean that we will come out in front with ratepayers owning new assets to attract international competitions and for everyday community use.”
The Mayor said councillors should be proud of meeting the community’s expectations while delivering one of the lowest rates increases in recent history.
“Our first two years in office was spent repairing the city’s finances by cutting wasteful expenditure and developing a new vision for the Gold Coast,” said Cr Tate.
“Our third budget is about respecting ratepayers, keeping our promises, protecting our lifestyle and fulfilling the aspirations of a community that wants more for their kids.”
[signoff icon=”icon-attach”]Key initiatives:
•An allocation of $36 million, out of a total Council commitment of $208 million (in 2013 dollar value) over a five- year period for the Commonwealth Games
•The commencement of planning and development of the first stage of the Cultural Precinct at the Evandale Parklands, with an initial allocation of $5.6 million in 2014-15 and a further $31.4 million to 2017-18
•Continued development of Chinatown with an allocation of $1.3 million and a further $585,000 for street-scaping within the precinct
•A focus on asset management planning to ensure the City’s infrastructure remains in good condition, enabling service levels to be maintained with $80.65 million for infrastructure asset renewal.
•Allocation of $1.71 million for implementation of the Culture Strategy
•Finalisation of City Plan 2015 with an allocation of $1.5 million
•Focus on a number of “Safer Suburbs” initiatives including CCTV network ($1.8 million), citywide mobile CCTV trial ($168,000) and Community safety program ($400,000)
•Funding for Southport CBD Implementation Plan including $300,000 for events activity, CBD building projects, CBD retail strategy and marketing and promotions.
•Allocation of $3.7 million for major events, including an additional $1 million for events attraction and events infrastructure
•Allocation of $2.8 million for Industry Incentive and Business Programs with the aim of creating more jobs
•Allocation of $12.6 million to Gold Coast Tourism to attract more tourism to the city
•Contributions totalling $6.1 million towards Surfers Paradise Alliance, Broadbeach Alliance and Connecting Southern Gold Coast for promotion of the precincts
•Continued commitment to an integrated and more effective city transport system with allocations including public transport ($6.5 million), major roadworks and reconstruction ($19.5 million), footpath and cycleways ($4.8 million) and an integrated parking management system ($7.5 million)
•Continuation of public seawall construction with an allocation of $1.2 million.[/signoff]