East Pilbara adopts latest budget

Sophia ConstantineNorth West Telegraph

The Shire of East Pilbara has adopted its 2017-18 budget with a strong focus on community events, improving infrastructure, and driving growth.

The budget includes an overall operating revenue of $46,565,200, with $4,243,600 allocated to community amenities.

Shire chief executive Allen Cooper said the authority would continue to host events around the newly revamped town centre.

“We’re continuing along the wellbeing avenue with a lot of support for tourism,” he said. “By having things like the Town Square, which bring people around the Town Centre, we hope to support local businesses around the town.”

The opening of The Square in July signified the completion of the final stage of the Newman Town Centre Revitalisation Plan, which has been in planning since 2002.

Upgrades to Newman Aquatic Centre were also a key project in the budget, with the final touches expected to be completed soon.

The Shire has allocated $345,000 towards the pool upgrades, and received a $50,000 community chest fund grant through the Pilbara Development Commission.

The Shire saved a little less than $1 million on employee costs in the previous budget, with $10,932,174 spent out of $11,928,400 allocated.

Mr Cooper explained the operating expenditure in the 2017-18 budget had increased to $12,008,600 as a number of positions had been left vacant in the last 12 months.

“We haven’t reduced the workforce, we have been trying to employ more people,” he said.

Mr Cooper said about $1.2 million was spent on road plants and equipment each year to ensure popular routes were safe.

Access roads set to receive upgrades include Kiwirrkurra Road, Punmu access, Talawana Track, Jupiter Well Access, and Desert Road.

Shire of East Pilbara president Lynne Craigie encouraged residents to look at the budget.

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