NOT RELEASED: Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O’Connell said employee costs had never been reported as a separate line in the budget.
NOT RELEASED: Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O’Connell said employee costs had never been reported as a separate line in the budget. Hayden Johnson

How much council spends on staff not released for a year

FRASER Coast ratepayers do not know how much their council has budgeted for staff until more than a year after a budget is released.

Unlike most other councils across Queensland, Fraser Coast Regional Council does not show its predicted employee expenses in the yearly budget - instead leaving it in a larger "operational expenses" category.

The figure is not released until the council's end of financial year annual reports. The council's 2014-15 annual report had not been released at the time of print and the council would not release the figures.

According to the council's 2010-11 to 2013-14 annual reports, between $48.9 million and $49.9 million was spent on staff costs.

Despite being listed separately in the reports, Fraser Coast mayor Gerard O'Connell said employee costs had never been reported as a separate line in the budget.

"Council has 536 staff. Council is one of the major employers in the region.

"Those wages help stimulate the local economy. Council also stimulates the local economy through its record $55 million capital budget, the highest ever amount dedicated to building and repairing our assets."

Cr O'Connell said the council was continually reviewing service levels to ensure staffing levels remained adequate.

He said the council's current enterprise bargaining agreement with its staff would expire in 2018.

Cr O'Connell said although changes would depend on negotiations and any changes to industrial relations law, the council would negotiate with unions to attempt to minimise costs.

"Containing costs has been a major priority. Council's hard work on its finances has been recognised with the Queensland Treasury Corporation rating of sound, the second highest rating provided," he said. - APN NEWSDESK



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