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1 July, 2021

Council’s Blueprint for our future not supported by Pyne

IT SHOULD have been a Budget Meeting delivering a blueprint for the future of our city, instead it became a political circus orchestrated by Division 2 Councillor Rob Pyne.

By Peter McCullagh

Budget Key Points

  • 2.5% Rate Increase 2021/22
  • $124.5 million Capital Works program
  • $49.3 million - water and waste improvements
  • $26.8 million - road works
  • $4.6 million - footpaths and cycleways

Rob Pyne indicated during his allotted 3 minute speech on the budget prior to the formal vote that he could not endorse the budget due to perceived shortfalls in his division.

Surprisingly, during crucial votes on policy required, supporting the budget, Councillor Pyne supported the policy and all the principles underpinning the budget, yest could not endorse the budget.

Months of work has been undertaken by Councillors and Council staff to frame this budget, Pyne’s stance appeared to come as a surprise to many of the other Councillors on the day.

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning was not surprised by Councillor Pynes response.

. “There was no warning, however, I was not altogether surprised.

“However, I can assure the people of Division 2 that they are not being neglected and with time an updated works program will be put forward for the Division 2 community.”

This budget was a difficult budget to frame according to Mayor Bob Manning. “Given the challenges that have befallen us and before us, it was clear the budget had to be designed to strengthen the Council’s overall financial position.”

Ratepayers will have to dip deeper this year with a rate rise of 2.5 per cent across the board. With no land revaluations this year, the rate increase will be uniform across all ratepayers.


Key spending within the 2021/22 budget includes:

● $26.8 million on improvements to the road network including $10 million on pavement rehabilitation, asphalt overlays and reseals, $4.9 million for a major upgrade to McGregor Road, Smithfield, and $1.9 million for Fisher Road, Gordonvale

● $21.3 million for improvements to the wastewater network and treatment plants

● $6 million has been allocated to establish the much-needed new animal management facility in Links Drive

● $4.6 million for the creation of footpaths, pathways and to promote Active Travel including $2.4 million to progress the Northern Beaches Leisure Trail, specifically the Dunne Road connection, Clifton to Kewarra Beach and for the completion of the Barr Creek bridge

● $4.5 million for parks and foreshores including $2 million for the new Yorkeys Knob Boat Ramp carpark, and $2.1 million for the construction of a 150-metre rock groyne at Half Moon Bay Creek, which will trap sand moving from north to south and reduce the need for ongoing dredging at the mouth of the creek

● $4.4 million for consultancy, design and early works for the Cairns Water Security – Stage 1 project

● $3.7 million to continue the major upgrade of Griffiths Park Sporting Precinct

● $3 million for the refurbishment of the Henley Hill No 5 Reservoir

● $3 million for the water main refurbishment program

● $2.4 million for new kerb and channel as part of the Suburban Enhancement Program

● $2.3 million for the testing of bores at multiple sites as part of the Emergency Water Supply Plan to safeguard Cairns’ water supply in the event of an extreme drought

● $2m to progress the Cairns Gallery Precinct, involving the demolition of the L-shaped building and carpark on 51 Esplanade and refurbishment of the Old Mulgrave Shire building

● $1.9 million for pedestrian and road bridge projects including $1 million for the Behana Creek Road bridge, and $550,000 for the Givens Street pedestrian bridge

● $1.7 million for drainage improvements and $1 million for street lighting upgrades

● $1.5 million for upgrades to the Tanks Arts Centre

● $1.2 million for upgrades to aquatic facilities including $500,000 to upgrade the children’s leisure pool infrastructure at Smithfield

● $670,000 for improvements to parks, playgrounds and the provision of public toilets including $100,000 for a major upgrade of Harald Falge Park, and

● $500,000 to expand and improve our comprehensive CCTV network.

Prior to presenting his Budget, the Mayor spoke at length regarding the challenges facing Cairns and and in the future with regard to water security.

“Water security is the most critical issue facing our community and, indeed this region.

“We have been cognisant of the need to secure additional water resources and expand water infrastructure for Cairns for some time, setting up a dedicated advisory group in 2015 to develop a strategy that would secure the city’s water supply for the next 30 years.”

One of the key Capital Works projects to be commenced in the course of this financial year is an allocation of $4.4 million for consultancy, design and early works required for the Cairns Water Security – Stage 1 Project.

With no guarantee of federal or state funding for the Water Security Project, Councillor Manning highlighted this project as Council’s number 1 advocacy project, ensuring both tiers of government were across the importance of securing or water supply to continue with population and economic growth in the region.


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