Redland City Council revenue takes a hit from COVID-19

COVID-19: Figures show the economic impacts of COVID-19 are not being felt as harshly in the Redlands as in other parts of the country.
COVID-19: Figures show the economic impacts of COVID-19 are not being felt as harshly in the Redlands as in other parts of the country.

COVID-19 is expected to hit the Redlands council budget hard, pushing it into an operating deficit and costing millions in refunds and lost interest.

Three months ago, council had a balanced budget but it is now expecting its expenditure to outweigh its revenue for the financial year.

A council spokesperson said the financial impact of COVID-19 was most likely to be in its early stages.

Refunds, like trade waste charges, RPAC tickets and community hall fees, as well as discounts and waivers on things like food and event licenses was expected to cost more than $1 million by the end of June.

The package saw the due date for payment of the April rates bill extended by a month, a move which was set to cost $100,000 in interest revenue.

Council also cancelled its land auction for overdue rates and charges, scheduled for early April, forgoing $300,000.

"Council has seen reduced cash inflows across several areas and has limited revenue streams, with most having been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic," a spokesperson said.

"The Reserve Bank of Australia has also reduced the cash rate target five times since council finalised its 2019/20 budget in May 2019.

"This has impacted on the interest revenue that council receives on its cash balances, with the figure reported at (March 31) being in excess of $1 million."

Former Queensland treasurer Jackie Trad said in late April that the Queensland budget would take a $4 billion hit due to coronavirus.

Figures show the economic impacts of COVID-19 are not being felt as harshly in the Redlands as in other parts of the country.

In a council meeting on Wednesday, council's group manager for community and economic development Kim Kerwin said the projected decline in economic growth for the June quarter was 11 per cent for the Redlands, less than the impact at a state and national level.

"The national forecast (for unemployment) is 10 per cent (and) the forecast for Redlands is 7.7 per cent, which equates to 3755 jobs.

"While it's true there's been decline in production, spending and incomes, what we are seeing ... is that that impact isn't being felt as harshly in the (Redlands).

"The people that are working from home, staying local, purchasing local, supporting local businesses is playing out in those figures."

Mayor Karen Williams said she had been heartened by the way organisations and the community had worked together to respond and offer help where it was needed most.