Brisbane City Council Budget 2019

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner addresses media at the 2019-20 Brisbane City Council Budget hand down at Brisbane City Hall. Courtesy: AAP Image/Claudia Baxter

FIRST home buyers will have their rates slashed under a big spending pre-election budget from Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner.

In his first Budget as Lord Mayor, Cr Schrinner unveiled a massive infrastructure spend of more than $930 million as he tried to woo voters ahead of next year’s Council election.

Residential rates will increase on average by 2.5 per cent, while Council’s debt will balloon by a whopping $1 billion to $2.6 billion fund its infrastructure agenda.

Cr Schrinner said his Budget was about his ambition to build a “better Brisbane over the next decade” as well as protecting the city’s lifestyle and green space.

It will include a new measure to assist first home buyers, by offering a one-off 50 per cent reduction to their annual rates bill with savings of up to $1,000.

Team Schrinner is giving targeted cost of living relief at a time when residents are often stretched to the financial limits,” the Lord Mayor told the council chamber this morning.

“We recognise how important home ownership is and we want to see more people getting into the market and owning a piece of Brisbane to call their own.”

Construction will also soon begin on the LNP’s much vaunted Brisbane Metro project, with $125 million set aside next financial year to begin major works.

More than $500 million has also been set aside over the next four years to fund the council’s Green Bridge program, including a $6 million spend in 2019-20.

It is understood construction on the bridge linking Kangaroo Point to the CBD could be completed within years.

The council confirmed for the first time today that they will be seeking upwards of $200 million from the State and Federal Governments to fund the bridges.

Another $30.9 million will be spent modernising Brisbane’s CityCat fleet, with six new double decker CityCats to be purchased over the next four years – replacing existing ferries.

Money will also be spent on a trial of electric buses.

In his speech to the chamber, Cr Schrinner signaled a potential expansion of Brisbane Metro under a new northside transport plan that will look at boosting public transport options in the city’s northern suburbs.

“Council, in partnership with the Morrison-Federal Government, will identify the best ways to cut congestion in the north-western suburbs,” he said.

The total rates and utility haul from this year’s Budget will exceed $1.71 billion, but this is expected to increase by almost 6 per cent next financial year to $1.24 billion.

Cr Schrinner would today not be drawn into potential rate increases beyond the current budget period, but Labor councillors have previously warned of a massive rate rise following the next Council election.

The LNP administration has also made a pivot to the suburbs, unveiling plans to launch a suburban renewal taskforce – aimed at beautifying suburbs outside the inner-city.

“I want to see Council apply the many learnings from urban renewal out in the suburbs,” Cr Schrinner said in his Budget speech.

“I want to see all three levels of government working together to deliver the support and the enabling infrastructure to facilitate the revitalization of suburban precincts.”

Suburbs that will fall under the program are yet to be identified, with about $500,000 allocated to the taskforce this coming financial year.