Rough weather has had some impact on the region's finances


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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The unfavourable weather conditions experienced in December and January have had an adversarial affect on the Douglas Shire Council’s financial statements for the year ended 30 June 2019.

According to the statements, which were adopted at a Special Council meeting in Council Chambers earlier this week, the operating result was adversely affected by expenditure incurred due to the weather conditions experienced during the financial year.

The statements show the following:

  • the operating deficit for the year is $970.9k compared to a (revised) budgeted operating deficit of $594.6k
  • the cash position at the end of the year is $29.1m
  • no material changes to Council’s overall financial position resulted from the audit process.

Council’s operating result is determined by deducting recurrent expenditure from recurrent revenue resulting in an operating deficit of $971k compared to a (revised) budgeted operating deficit of $595k. This represents a variance of $376k to revised budget.

Wind and heavy rain battered Port Douglas and Mossman in December last year after ex-tropical cyclone Owen swept through the region.

At one point, Port Douglas received 202mm of rain and Mossman 186mm. The region received more rain and the severe winds also caused considerable destruction.

Douglas Shire Council Mayor Julia Leu confirmed that the adverse weather events earlier this year had impacted the 2018-19 budget.

“Leaving an estimated $17 million damage bill, recovery efforts doubled our workload and put pressure on our civil crews including two unbudgeted, additional dredges of the Daintree River,” she said.

“Although the 2018-19 operating deficit was higher than budgeted, it is a credit to Council’s focus on prudent financial management that the impact of extreme weather and the emergent works were mitigated appropriately.

“Despite this, Council is still projecting its first budget surplus in the 2019-20 financial year, and I am very proud of this organisation and the progress it has made in the face of adversity,” she said.

Read the complete statement of Douglas Shire Council's finances here.

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