Council Approves 2023-24 Budget

Published on Tuesday, 1 August 2023 at 8:17:00 AM

1 August 2023

The Australian Federal and WA State Budgets were handed down in May this year – the Shire of Esperance doesn’t expect the same level of media attention, but Budget has just gone through and its impact arguably hits closest to home for our community.

A Special Council Meeting today saw the Shire of Esperance 2023/24 Budget approved, after months of work to prioritise vital projects and community expectations, while delivering best value for ratepayer money.

"Economic conditions in the last year have continued to be challenging or have become worse for much of our community,” Shire President Ian Mickel acknowledged.

“Council are proud of the work put in to this Budget. It lays out planning for what we need to achieve in the next few years with the airport runway upgrade, the Wylie Bay Waste Facility to be decommissioned, the major project to replace this with the Myrup Waste Management Facility, and Stage One of the James St Precinct to replace the library, as well as our considerable road maintenance responsibilities. We’ve trod a fine line between what we need to achieve, while minimising impact on our community.”

“We were able to hold the increase in Rates to 6.5% for GRV (Gross Rental Value) properties, and to 8% for UV (Unimproved Value) properties. With continued rising costs and Council conviction that our community do not want Shire services cut, this is a balanced outcome.”

The Office of the Valuer General increased rural values (UV) by 39% this year. Not wishing to burden our rural ratepayers with this full rise, Council have set the adjusted UV rate in the dollar to lower than last year to offset this increase.

Major projects and acquisitions planned for the 2023 – 2024 Financial year include:

$22,111,000 for road renewals and improvements across the Shire of Esperance road network, the largest of any local government in WA. Included in this amount is:

$5,500,000 for Fisheries Road shoulder sealing, fully State funded under Road Safety upgrade grants

$1,100,000 to upgrade the Fisheries Road/Goldfields Road intersection, 100% covered under Federal Black Spot funding

$665,000 for shared path along Harbour Rd from Shelden Road to Norseman Road. This project is expected to be finished by the end of the financial year, and is 50% funded through a Department of Transport WA Bike Network Grant

$3,000,000 to commence works on Myrup Waste Management Facility, slated to be a game-changer for sustainability in the region, with modern processing infrastructure expected to divert substantial amounts of waste from landfill

$2,500,000 for the Graham Mackenzie Stadium replacement, continuing to deliver modern facilities for the community

$5,000,000 for Flinders Estate Stage 3, financing subdivision of land and installation of the necessary assets and utilities to bring 45 lots to the open market. All existing lots in Flinders Estate have been sold, and this further release will help ease local housing pressures

$200,000 to commence the next stage of the Shark Lake Industrial Park.  All 27 previously available lots sold in the last 18 months. Development of the next stage will support future expansion of local business needs

$200,000 for design of the Esperance Airport runway upgrade, to enable larger commercial and emergency aircraft to use the facility. This will meet community expectations, expressed in the recent Community Scorecard, to prioritise expanded functionality at the Airport

$3,400,000 for the Sand Back Pass Pipeline, to take advantage of sand dredged from Bandy Creek by the Department of Transport, and largely funded by State and Federal grants

$1,926,000 for the Shire’s Building Maintenance Program. This covers all community asset buildings the Shire is responsible for maintaining, those used by our community as well as functional Shire facilities. The recent Community Scorecard revealed an 87% positive rating for the Shires performance in maintaining community buildings, halls and toilets. The Shire intends to continue to meet expectations for the delivery of these facilities

The Budget was influenced by key local and State-wide issues such as continuing skilled labour shortages, higher contractor costs, and pressure on employment and resourcing costs. The Shire’s Enterprise Bargaining Agreement, vital to attract and retain quality staff to serve the community, included a 3.5% increase in the 2023/2024 financial year, along with the legislated Superannuation Guarantee increase of 0.5%.

Shire CEO Shane Burge is pleased with the outcome of the Budget Process.

“All areas of the Shire and the Council have worked to get the best possible deal with the funds available to us”, he said. “I’m particularly impressed, as always, with our officer’s diligence in applying for and securing grants – this is an unsung aspect of our project funding that has huge benefits for the community.”

“The Budget is being funded from $25m in Rates, $20m in other Operating Revenue, $25m in Capital Grants, $18m from Reserve Transfers, $2.5m from Financing Activities and $4m carried forward from last year’s projects”, Shane explained.

“Funds will go into infrastructure asset renewal and sustainability to keep our assets in good condition for our community, and we also look to develop new attractions and meet needs. An exciting project for our community will be the artificial reef to be installed under and around the Esperance jetty, to attract more fish and complement current recreational activities.”

“We’ve also addressed the need frequently expressed by our community for expanded ranger services, with the creation of a new Ranger position.”

“This Budget realises the instructions of the community, delivered through the Council Plan, and I look forward to seeing the projects and acquisitions unfold over the coming year.”

Fees and Charges were considered by Council in May 2023, in order to establish these and notify stakeholders in plenty of time to plan for any increases. As part of the Budget today there were minor changes to rectify inconsistencies, an update to decrease fees for the Pet Cemetery, and a new fee for Swimming Pool testing (public/businesses) sampling was also reduced. The new Fees and Charges became effective with the adoption of the Budget, except for the Bay of Isles Leisure Centre where the revised fees will be effective from 1 September 2023.

The Waste Rate remains unchanged, at $80 per rateable property, and all ratepayers will once again receive four Domestic Waste Voucher entitlements.

Shire of Esperance 2023/24 Budget


Mary Bidstrup (08) 9071 0626

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