A message from the Mayor, Leigh Gray: Working with all levels of government to achieve our budget goals

From time to time and particularly during our budget planning process for 2022/23, we get questioned about what we can do and achieve in the next 12 months.

We have the responsibility to ensure that we upgrade all our current assets and maintain them in good condition, as well as provide the community with a wide range of services. We also need to plan for new investments in the Brighton Municipality so we can achieve our 2050 Vision to be a thriving place; a proud community; ensure a good life at every age for all our residents and provide a sustainable environment.

We balance all of these things, while we keep a balanced budget, spending no more than we can afford, just like we all do at home. We all know how difficult this is at times, especially with the huge increase in costs.

Council has approved a 10-year Financial Management Plan and a 10-year Asset Management Plan. This sets out our renewal and replacement program for our roads, footpaths, buildings and all other assets.

We are certainly aware that from time to time we need to change the plans to accommodate situations where repairs and upgrades are more urgently required. Our Asset Management team is constantly reviewing these documents when situations arise. As councillors, we put forward your enquiries for assessment and prioritisation, if required. Our Council tries to ensure our assets are at the optimal intervention point when we repair or upgrade. We try not to let assets get to a point of disrepair that involve big costs to fix. It’s far better to repair at that optimal time to save ongoing costs. If you let an asset deteriorate past this point, it can result in rapidly increasing repair costs, however repairing before this stage means we won’t be getting the best value out of our original investment. It’s a balancing act!

This brings me to the subject of new assets that we either acquire, in the form of road and public open space contributions for new developments undertaken, or through the purchase of new builds we undertake in the area. These cover all our parks, walking tracks and public buildings. Council now owns $216 million worth of assets that all cost money to maintain.

With our plans for the future, we always look for co-operative arrangements with other levels of government to move our new infrastructure developments forward. We have many plans for upgrades of parks and facilities for the community. We work on staging these new developments over several budgets and although we don’t get the final product for several years, it’s delivered in a very economically responsible way. However, from time to time, we join forces with our Federal or State counterparts and receive assistance on some projects that make it possible to produce a build in one go instead of in stages. Your council works hard – staff and councillors – to ensure that opportunities are not missed along the way.

We have a very cooperative approach to all major infrastructure projects. For example, during this Federal Election we saw both major parties commit $2.3 million to deliver the master plan for the Ted Jeffries Memorial Park in Seymour Street, Brighton. The $2.3 million commitment plus a $1.1 million contribution from Brighton Council will deliver some of the most important elements of the Ted Jeffries Memorial Park Masterplan. I look forward to seeing what more can
be achieved in cooperation with all levels of government in the near future.

I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank former Premier Peter Gutwein for his 20 years service to Tasmania. Mr Gutwein demonstrated the most outstanding leadership through the toughest of times and effectively navigated us all through the COVID-19 pandemic. I would like to acknowledge and thank him for his positive and progressive stance on issues such as climate change and truth-telling/treaty during his time as Premier, setting an important precedent for future leaders.

Finally, on behalf of Brighton Council, I would like to congratulate Premier Jeremy Rockcliff on becoming Tasmania’s 47th Premier. We look forward
to working with Premier Rockcliff and feel confident that his experience in government and understanding of what it is to be part of a more regional community, will make our working relationship effective and productive.

Brighton Mayor
Leigh Gray