IN his first budget Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk (pictured) has announced that to curb escalating debt, $37 million has been set aside for voluntary redundancies.
Quirk says that operating costs will be reduced to ensure that more money can be spent on providing critical front-line services in the suburbs.
“We’re committed to tightening our own belt and delivering savings through a $30 million efficiency dividend and by putting aside up to $37 million for voluntary redundancies, focusing on reducing employee costs in the future,” he says.
“Over the next 12 months, Council will also look for further savings by reducing travel costs by 22 per cent and catering costs by six per cent. In all, internal savings are expected to amount to $120 million in the coming year.”
Queensland councils have tried to play down the prospect of mass job cuts this year, following the end of a three-year ban that prevented amalgamated local governments from shedding staff.
The Beattie Government slashed the number of councils from 156 to 72 in 2008 and imposed a three-year moratorium on job cuts, but that measure expired in March of this year.
Modest rate rises were also announced in the $2.9 billion budget, including more than $1 billion for infrastructure, with $465 million allocated for public transport. The average rate increase for commercial properties will be 1.79 per cent, excluding water and sewerage.
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