MAYOR'S MESSAGE: Efficiency helps keep rates in check

HIGH operational costs are being shredded at Fraser Coast Regional Council.

A 30% reduction in the number of printers and the centralisation of paper and toner purchases at council's administration offices are among a number of actions being taken to save hundreds of thousands of ratepayers' dollars.

In our last budget, council delivered on my election commitment to stay within the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increases.

About 75% of our ratepayers had rate increases at or below CPI, and 45% of our ratepayers had no rate increase or a reduction in rates.

With costs such as electricity increasing and State Government funding decreasing, it's very difficult for rates to stay at or below CPI increases unless we either reduce the level of services or find more efficient ways to deliver those services.

Since last month's launch of the values-based TRAITS Change Management plan we're already seeing some great results.

While a change in culture is being driven from the top down, productivity and efficiency is being driven from the bottom up.

Employees are becoming more engaged and empowered to help with council management.

 They know their jobs better than managers and directors, so if we harness their knowledge and experience, they're the ones who'll bring real savings to the organisation.

A great example of employee-driven change is a recent review of printing requirements by Information Services staff.

As a result, we will soon be going out to tender for managed print services to make sure that we have the right number and type of printers to suit our work requirements.

Managed print services will provide features such as Follow-me printing which will significantly reduce waste of printer consumables and increase efficiency with staff being able to pick up their print job from any printer with the swipe of a card.

Another great example is Wide Bay Water collaborating with Ergon Energy to review electricity tariffs.

As a result, they identified that if we move to different tariffs for a number of our large sites, we'll save $160,000 every year.

Also, one of our road crews recently identified savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars over the next few years through the purchase of plant and equipment, rather than continuing to hire it.

These initiatives alone will save our community many hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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