Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow delivers the 2014 draft budget.
Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow delivers the 2014 draft budget. Allan Reinikka ROK120614abudget2

Mayor told Rocky 'would be bankrupt in two years'

WHAT a difference a few short years have made.

Three years ago Rockhampton Regional Council was told that we would be bankrupt in two years.

For those who weren't here at the time, when Livingstone Shire de-amalgamated and went back to their original status, the remaining Council was still an amalgamation.

Rockhampton City Council had always been sound financially.

The other two Councils were weaker but offered amazing opportunities in other ways.

The loss of Livingstone meant that we lost almost one third of our total budget (and population) but because we provide so many regional facilities, our expenses didn't reduce proportionally.

As a community we had to make some very hard financial decisions.

Our budget of 2013/14 saw some difficult decisions, and tough choices.

The scale of the turnaround achieved is such that I have just presented a draft budget which projects our fourth successive surplus and will see us exceed all of the key indicators of financial sustainability that Queensland Treasury prescribe.

That's a mean feat that cannot be matched by many councils in Queensland.

And on top of our solid financial position we have the added depth that our broad based economy now brings.

Along with the 'Regional Capital' of the City of Rockhampton, we now share the productive rural lands of the former Fitzroy Shire, the industrial land and 'room to grow a family' which is Gracemere's great strength and the 'gold' - both the mineral and the people - of Mount Morgan.

Not a bad result at all.