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Message from the Mayor

Council has worked hard to deliver a $95.9 million budget that offers value and responsibly addresses our community’s immediate and future needs.

As part of the budgeting process Council has diligently addressed the challenges posed by the increasing cost-of-living and state land valuations for Somerset residents with a steadfast focus on maintaining the lowest possible overall rates.

As one of the fastest growing regions in South East Queensland, Somerset’s population has increased by 2.1% to about 26,000 people, contributing to a significant increase (54% - $3.22B to $4.97B) in average residential land values, reflecting a growing attraction to our vibrant, and connected country lifestyle.

With the region’s population forecast to grow to about 29,000 by 2031, Council continues to invest heavily in infrastructure, accessibility, and facilities that people need, with 30 capital projects ($53 million) planned this year. A further 25 projects valued at more than $4 million are scheduled, subject to government funding.

This year’s budget will also be boosted by an anticipated revenue of $32 million from government grants and subsidies (44% of budget revenue), along with other revenue sources totalling $6.4 million, ensuring ratepayers are not solely funding the cost of infrastructure investment across Somerset.

We are proud to continue supporting our local economy by employing and buying locally, with an expected 60+% of total rates and charges revenue remaining within the local community in FY25. It is pleasing to note the region’s unemployment rate has decreased from 6.9% to 4.9% since March 2023.

A further $329,000 investment in local event sponsorship and assistance programs will help bring the community together, and boost visitation and economic activity.

Council’s freeze on dog registrations for three years will save residents more than $200,000 over the next two years, with our 15% prompt payment discount for rates providing further financial relief.

While Council has prioritised containing operating costs to ensure long-term affordability and sustainability, escalating costs of (UU) sewer and water charges (3.6% increase), insurance (8.2%), fuel/ oil/materials (5.2%), and labour (6% increase) have exerted significant pressure on Council’s finances.

When taking into consideration that Council manages 1,490kms of roads (more than the distance from Brisbane to Townsville), 317ha of parks and gardens, four libraries, three aquatic centres, four public waste facilities, and much more, these price hikes have an enormous impact.

Despite the challenging economic environment, Council has worked hard to manage impacts on all Somerset ratepayers, keeping the cost of key rates lower than other neighbouring regions.

This year, owner occupiers on the minimum general rate or less after $2.28 per week, will receive a total increase in their annual rate bill, including additional levies and charges, of $119 or less, equivalent to $2.28 per week or less.

Acknowledging the additional rates burden for farm owners with land valuation increases that are higher than the average for their categories, Council has undertaken extensive efforts to ensure a fair outcome by:

  • Keeping 70+% of farm owners at an overall change in rates of less than 10%, including 16% who will get a rate reduction.
  • Increasing the number of farm rating categories from three to nine, and;
  • Reducing the general rate as a percentage of official State land valuation by between 25-49%.
  • Even with the valuations increase for farm owners, the cost ($28M) to maintain and build rural roads across Somerset in FY25 exceeds the total revenue raised from farming rates ($7.7M), highlighting the challenges Council has faced in delivering a fair and equitable budget, while funding essential services.

    As we move forward with this budget I, along with my councillors, am committed to fostering improved communication and engagement with the community, working towards a vibrant, well-planned, prosperous, and unified future for all residents and our region.

    Mayor Jason Wendt


    Marquee projects

    KEY PROJECTS ($70.2M*)

    Council is investing in critical infrastructure that connects our people and communities for the long-term. Marquee projects include:

    • Muckerts/McCulkins Lanes construction ($10.0M – HVSPP)
    • Scrub Creek Road Bridge construction ($4.7M – DRFA betterment)
    • Additional crossing on Patrick Estate Road ($3.7M – DRFA betterment)
    • Lester Kropp Bridge (Neurum Road) replacement ($6.7M - BRP)
    • Widening roads – Ivory Creek Road $3.9M, Lowood Minden Road $2.1M, Toogoolawah Biarra Road $5.5M, Main Street at Lowood $2.6M and Clarendon Road $1.3M (PACP/TIDS)
    • Reduction in unsealed roads by 1.5% (10 km)



    Budget 2025 - documents