Cairns Regional Council has presented a record capital works program of almost $180 million in its 2016-17 Budget.
The record annual allocation for new and improved infrastructure throughout the region is part of a three-year capital works program that is expected to exceed $470 million.
Mayor Bob Manning said there was a focus on getting things done, with several long-awaited projects now under way.
“The building of a new performing arts centre, refurbishment of the School of Arts, Shields St Heart, extension of Logomeir Rd and construction of the Walker Rd Sports Precinct have been many years in the making and we are pleased to now be delivering these major projects,” Cr Manning said.
“But there is also a focus on strategic planning to meet the future needs of a modern, tropical city. This includes our future transport and sporting needs, the role of the city centre and the adoption of new technologies.”
As part of the development of a new corporate plan, the council will undertake an $80,000 public consultation program to determine residents’ views on a range of topics.
“The Our Cairns program will give residents a voice in determining the future direction of our city,” Cr Manning said. “The results of this consultation will provide a snapshot of our community’s views and will feed into all of our planning projects.”
The Cairns Performing Arts Centre headlines the works program for the 2016-17 Budget, with $61.7 million to be spent over two years, including $35.5m in the next 12 months.
In total, $53.5 million will be spent on transport infrastructure in 2016-17, including more than $10 million to complete stage 2 of the Shields St Heart project.
“We’ve increased our spending on transport by more than 30 per cent, including an extra $1.8m for suburban enhancement projects,” Cr Manning said.
“While we have our major projects laid out, we’re certainly not neglecting the smaller ones. Local roads, kerb and channel and footpaths have all been given additional funding this year.”
The council’s largest current road project, the recently-commenced extension of Logomeir Rd – linking Edmonton and Bentley Park – will continue over the next two financial years at a total cost of $8.3 million.
Council will spend $6.73 million on drainage projects, including some initial actions from the recently adopted Saltwater Creek and Mount Whitfield North Drainage Management Plans.
A total $10.58 million is allocated for bridge replacement and renewal and almost $40 million will be spent on water and waste infrastructure in 2016-17.
Cr Manning said investment in capital infrastructure was also an investment in local jobs.
“Construction is one of the most effective economic boosters available,” Cr Manning said. “When there are crews out building things – be it roads, buildings, playgrounds, whatever – the whole region benefits.”
For more information of the 2016-17 Budget go to http://www.cairns.qld.gov.au/council/news-publications/reports/1617budget
For Cairns Regional Council supply and tender details go to http://www.cairns.qld.gov.au/council/tenders