SPLASH: The Gympie Aquatic Recreation Centre was one of the investments council made with its reserves in the past four years.
SPLASH: The Gympie Aquatic Recreation Centre was one of the investments council made with its reserves in the past four years. Renee Albrecht

Council spends $35m of reserves; where did it go?

A DROP of almost 40 per cent in Gympie Regional Council Reserves over the past four years is the result of playing capital work catch-up and infrastructure investment, Mayor Mick Curran has said.

More than $35 million of the council's reserves were spent in that time, an expense which Cr Curran said was possible because reserves had been high ($87.3 million in 2013) due to the region's floods.

"The increase in reserves was the result of capital works not being completed because of the reconstruction and recovery works," he said.

"What we're doing now is completing those projects."

The Gympie Aquatic Recreation Centre had also received a large chunk after council eschewed borrowing for the project.

"The decision was made by council to utilise reserves in a $10 million payment," he said.

Despite the decrease, Cr Curran said the council had ensured it would not be left high and dry on infrastructure renewal.

Cr Curran was also confident concerns over the expenditure would leave council unable to replace assets was misplaced.

"In the last 18 months we've had a full review of our depreciation levels so that there are adequate specific restrained reserves to cover the replacement of infrastructure in the future," he said.

"The Queensland Audit Office reviews our financials every year, and we were one of the few councils last year to receive five green lights.

"Speaking with the Queensland Audit Office, our reserves were too high."

Cr Curran said the council was also well placed to borrow money for future projects like the proposed new library, if council decided that was the appropriate funding stream.

And, at the end of the day, council should be investing in the region.

"If we're collecting rates off people, should we not be delivering projects?"

Gympie Times


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