David Crisafulli says of all the councils,
David Crisafulli says of all the councils, "no-one has inherited a bigger mess than Jenny Whitney".

Government approves $25m loan to council

LOCAL Government minister David Crisafulli says of all the new mayors and councils that have come into office across the state, "no-one has inherited a bigger mess than [Whitsunday mayor] Jenny Whitney".

Mr Crisafulli's comments have come as Whitsunday Regional Council (WRC) has been approved for emergent funding of $25 million to save it from insolvency.

Yesterday, Council's CEO Scott Waters confirmed that the Department of Local Government had approved a loan of $10 million and an overdraft of $15 million, in line with recommendations by the Queensland Treasury Corporation (QTC), which would allow Council to continue operating after July 1.

Whitsunday mayor Jennifer Whitney stressed this was not a grant.

"It is emergent funding - it comes with interest and it comes with a very defined set of criteria, such as almost financial micro-management of our organisation," she said.

Cr Whitney said Council would have to commit to the State Government's terms and warned that "if things look pear shaped [in] any way through this process, they will jump in". She said if an administrator was brought in, "the rates will just go up and there'll be no heart and soul with how that's [debt reduction] arrived at". "We at least know our community and understand their needs," she said.

Cr Whitney said a lot of time, hard work and effort, had been spent getting the State Government on board. "It's only through changing our CEO and executive management up that we've got the confidence of the government," she said.

Local Government minister David Crisafulli confirmed the State Government was working closely with Whitsunday Regional Council "to help them bring about the best result possible".

"Mayor Whitney is doing everything she can and I hope the community takes heart from the fact that she didn't run for cover but faced the situation head-on and kept the community in the loop so they know the reality of the situation," he said.

DEBT AT A GLANCE

  • Current debt: $71 million
  • Emergent funding: $25 million
  • Total: $96 million


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