Council Statement

Council statement - Region bears cost shifting burden

Bundaberg Regional Council has joined forces with the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) to support its cost shifting awareness campaign.


The campaign highlights the role Local Government plays in community liveability and the subsequent need for Councils to be adequately funded by higher levels of government.

A recent evaluation of the services and infrastructure which had been cost shifted on to Bundaberg Regional Council as part of this campaign revealed a more than $10 million annual impost on the local community.

And yet grant funding sources continue to decline, with the reallocation of the Financial Assistance Grants in 2021/22 just one example where the Bundaberg Region has already lost $4.6 million and expects to lose a further $43.8 million in the next 8 years to fund essential Council services.

Bundaberg Regional Council CEO Steve Johnston said this ongoing cost shifting was unsustainable and would, inevitably, hurt regional communities.

"Roads, rates and rubbish is a popular misconception about the role of Local Government, particularly in regional communities," Mr Johnston said. 

"In reality we are all things to all people.

"We are the closest level of government to our community and we are akin to its beating heart.

"We keep the water running, take the sewage and rubbish away and make sure roads are safe.

"But in the Bundaberg Region we also operate your local art gallery and theatre, provide aged care and seniors housing, foster communityconnections, coordinate local disaster management and drive economic development initiatives."



Mayor Jack Dempsey, who is on the LGAQ policy executive and is an Australian Local Government Association board member, said millions of dollars of additional responsibility was being given to Local Government with one hand while millions of dollars in funding was being taken away with the other.

"There is a high level of misinformation in the community at the moment around Council rates and cost shifting," Mayor Dempsey said.

"I'm frequently out and about and people ask me 'why can't you just do roads, rates and rubbish?'.

"The answer is never that simple. We're being given these additional responsibilities and, as the closest level of government to the people and the final tier below State and Federal, if we don't do it, who will?"

Mayor Dempsey said when residents paid their rates every dollar benefited the community but it represented just 3% of the overall tax share.

"With the increasing cost of living residents are under pressure but I've had people ask why rates went up this year. The fact is they didn't.

"This year there was 0% increase on general rates, with Bundaberg Regional Council being the only Council in Queensland able to deliver two zero general rates rises in this past term.

"Every cent we collect is for the benefit of our local community."


Council is doing more with less


Cost shift chart general rates