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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Council delivers record investment in capital works

City of Newcastle has delivered a record $92.5 million investment in capital works despite facing its first deficit in seven years due to COVID-19.

Financial statements show the City remains in a strong financial position with net assets of $1.72 billion and total cash reserves of $353 million, including unrestricted reserves of $22.6 million. 

Acting Chief Executive Ken Liddell said the latest financial statements demonstrate City of Newcastle’s capacity to respond to rising service expectations and unforeseen events. 

“The prudent financial management of City of Newcastle means we have weathered the impacts of COVID-19 well and are in a position to deliver a stimulus budget for 2020/21 from existing reserves, without borrowing money,” he said. 

“Because of our robust financial position, City of Newcastle was able to respond quickly to the social and economic disruption of COVID-19 including a $5 million community and economic resilience package and additional community infrastructure investment to support 700 local jobs. 

“The total financial impact of COVID-19 reduced City of Newcastle’s operating position for 2019/20 by $9.9 million, including a reduction in user charges of $5 million, interest revenue of $2.9 million and additional expenditure of $2 million.  

“Despite this impact, the City delivered a net operating deficit of just $3.6 million, less than the forecast deficit predicted in March of $8.3 million. 

“The fact City of Newcastle has produced net operating surpluses for the last six financial years reflects a positive pattern of financial performance and a commitment to long-term financial sustainability.” 

The City of Newcastle delivered a record investment in works across the Local Government Area in 2019/20, including:  

  • $16.6 million on waste management, incorporating the expansion of Cell 9 at the Summerhill Waste Management Centre 
  • $14.1 million on infrastructure and property investment including the newly opened Local Emergency Operations Centre 
  • $9.9 million on renewal and maintenance of the City’s roads  
  • $7.8 million on renewal and maintenance of the City’s stormwater network 
  • $7.6 million for fleet renewal 
  • $6.5 million on IT modernisation 
  • $5 million on Smart City initiatives including the city’s large-scale solar farm 
  • $3.7 million for City Hall façade upgrades and the new Visitor Information Centre 
  • $3.5 million on parks, facilities and open space including the playground replacement program 
  • $2.4 million on Libraries including the new Digital Library. 
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