Thursday, June 27, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

From Council Chambers To Household Budgets

I’ll let you in on a little-known secret about me.

Growing up, I wanted to be a lawyer. I love a robust debate.

I think it’s one of the reasons I enjoy sitting in regularly on Mackay Regional Council’s ordinary meetings when time allows. Being the same day that this publication goes to print can make attendance challenging, but I go when I can.

Balancing the demands of a fiscally responsible annual budget and maintaining high service levels and liveability in a progressive city like Mackay is no easy feat. Our councillors and the executive committee face a challenging task, and I do not envy their position. Announcing a rates rise is never a popular move, yet Mackay Regional Council has announced an increase of around $2.50 per week at its annual budget meeting earlier this week. This rise, in line with the CPI, is comparable to what other councils have announced recently.

For more details on the budget, turn to pages 10-11 of this edition.

Additionally, beyond just voting on budget figures, our councillors engage in robust debates that are far from easy. If you’ve never watched a council meeting, I urge you to do so via the council’s Facebook livestream. These debates offer valuable insights into our community’s issues, priorities, and future direction, such as finding out if a school has made an application to expand or if a new childcare centre has been given the green light. Listening to these discussions has even shifted some of my own viewpoints, showcasing the power of a well-argued, balanced debate.

Understanding the complexities faced by our councillors can foster greater appreciation for their roles and the decisions they make. I hope you take the opportunity to engage with these processes and gain a deeper understanding of our community’s governance. It’s easier to have an intelligent conversation about the cost of rates when you gain an understanding into where every dollar received by council needs to go.

In other news