22 July, 2021
Barcy plan to manage risk
Barcaldine Corporate plan to "consolidate investments".
THE Barcaldine Council have released their five-year corporate plan which aims to be more conservative on community infrastructure and focus on basics, such as roads and building new houses.
Barcaldine Regional Council Mayor Sean Dillon said the council’s goals were to have a more rigorous process around the council’s governance.
“[It’s about] managing risk; when we’re making decisions that will have a financial impact, we need to be aware of knock-on impacts that are going to have,” he said.
“It’s not as simple as building nice, shiny, and new assets; it’s about the wider costs, is there a return to not only the community but financially for council out of that.”
Cr Dillon said the council aims to take a more holistic approach to decision-making and the governance of their organisation.
“That will make a difference, maybe not immediately, but in the intermediate-term.”
Cr Dillon said over the past five to six years, Barcaldine has seen substantial investment in community infrastructures such as the Muttaburrasaurus Interpretation Centre, new pools in several towns, and the redevelopment of the “Globe”.
In the plan the council states they wish to recognise and consolidate the gains made by this infrastructure.
“It’s time, probably, now to sit back and let that investment speak for itself rather than continuing to spend on community infrastructure when there’s a substantial amount of our asset base, namely our roads, that require ongoing maintenance and capital upgrades,” Mr Dillon said
Cr Dillon said from the corporate plan all other council policies flow, including the budget.
This means that a well-made corporate plan would be beneficial to all community groups.
“[With us] focussing on upkeep, they [community groups] are going to have a strong infrastructure to work with, whether it’s a racetrack or else,” he said.
Cr Dillon said there are clear plans to facilitate investment especially in fields such as agriculture and human resources.
“We don’t want to be obstructionist, but we are going to ensure that any development is done in a very sustainable method,” he said.
“If there is significant investment and resources, we are going to inspect - through the development approvals - those resource companies and whether their impact on our community will offset that [any large initial funding] whether through their assets or financial contributions.”
“But, we’re going to do it in a way that attracts that investment - not deters - because, whether it’s a new energy hub or in a new advanced agricultural development or in resource extraction — we viewed that, and we’ve certainly looked at what we need to do to provide a very positive framework for those styles of new investment to come through.”
The corporate plan also highlighted a growing issue in the Central West, the housing shortage, and Barcaldine Council’s plan to tackle it.
“For a start, keeping our basic services available at an affordable rate, like sewerage and water, and keeping water available,” Cr Dillon said.
“All of these things help the regional market; on top of that, we’ve got key projects underway, where we’re supporting new home building by providing land.
“We’ve got a lot of land available, and we’re looking to develop in all five communities, and we’re releasing that land to builders to build houses.”
Cr Dillon said this year’s corporate plan differed from the previous one as it had more specific and measurable goals.
“It’s not just a shelf document.”