10 May 2023

Small rates rise as Cook Shire delivers modest budget

| Cape York Weekly
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COOK Shire has adopted a “realistic and moderate” $73.8 million budget for 2022-23.

Mayor Peter Scott said the budget was carefully crafted to ensure value for money to ratepayers and offset inflationary pressure.

“We’ve tried to ensure ratepayers are getting bang for their buck and the three per cent increase in this year’s rates is in line with other local governments,” he said.

“Council worked hard to deliver a moderate and realistic budget that will achieve savings to offset inflationary pressures.”

Operational projects include $37.4 million for maintenance and public works, $3 million for community lifestyle projects, $40,000 for development of the Cooktown Aviation Park and $100,000 for regional housing.

Capital projects include $1.8 million to upgrade Coen Airport and $350,000 to refurbish the Cooktown aged care units.

The council has also budgeted $100,000 for signage and maintenance at Cooktown Cemetery and $30,000 for the Bloomfield Memorial Wall.

The budget includes $52.1 million in projected state and federal grants.


MEANWHILE, Cook Shire has mooted a $24 million residential aged care facility for Cooktown.

Councillors last week tabled a preliminary business case for the 40-bed facility, and recommended that a working group be created to develop a project plan and engage an appropriate entity to take carriage of the project.

The business case addresses the need for aged care services in Cooktown and the wider Cook Shire, as well as the neighbouring communities of Wujal Wujal and Hope Vale.

The case proposes a facility on Cook Shire Council’s reserve for aged persons, with the entry on May Street, that will allow a dignified transition for local seniors from independent or supported living to high care aged care.

The proposal includes provisions for dementia patients, residential respite care and co-location of independent residential dwellings.

The case also includes plans for a $6.43 million community care facility to be built as a second stage, and provisions for staff accommodation that was not included in the cost estimate.

Councillors also recommended changes to the Community Grants and Support Program general policy.

It included an increase to $5000 per application for community and economic development grants and sponsorship.

The changes also altered the council’s in-kind support policy, with the exception of council staff time or plant hire not contained in the annual fees and charges.

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