BUDGETING: Mayor Keith Campbell says there will be more belt-tightening to come.
BUDGETING: Mayor Keith Campbell says there will be more belt-tightening to come. Tobi Loftus

Mayor backs community group funding cuts

SOUTH Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell says cuts to community group funding are necessary to fix the region's roads.

Reductions in Federal Assistance Grants in the past five years meant the council had less money each year for roadworks.

Cr Campbell said this forced the council to look internally for savings.

"Road maintenance is a key component of what council does and supporting community groups is just as necessary,” he said.

"What is also necessary is to remember that after these remissions are adjusted, council will still be providing around $500,000 to our community in various forms of support.”

Most community groups in the local government area will still receive a 75 per cent reduction on their usage of water, sewerage and garbage collection fees.

"This is significant,” Cr Campbell said.

A recent region-wide review of the road network through South Burnett Regional Council's Asset Management Plan highlighted the scale of the repair deficit.

It estimated about $10 million was needed.

This was on top of the estimated $6.5 million the council spent each year on regular roadworks.

Cr Campbell said small cuts added up to big savings.

"The issue of rate remission changes is the start of a much bigger exercise to look at other savings opportunities by council,” he said.

"So every $1 or $20,000 - or in this case $117,000 - in savings begins to grow into a substantial amount of money.

"The reality is that much more effort will be needed to redefine the budgetary allocations in order to build on the $117,000.

"There will be other measures considered as part of the attempt to put together a package that will address the roads issue.

"There are ways to use internal funds more effectively to help resolve the challenge.

"There is a plan in place, but first we look at modifying our own operations without having to jack up rates.”