Reopening holiday parks sooner than expected has lightened the $8 million financial blow COVID-19 was expected to have on Sunshine Coast Council’s budget.
The council’s latest budget review revealed the financial impacts of COVID-19 were $6.6 million, down from the initial estimate of $8 million.
It put the better result down to the earlier than expected reopening of the council’s holiday parks, which were closed between late March and early July.
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While the parks missed out on visits from tourists from southern states during the cooler months, bookings surged for the September school holidays.
All six parks – Mudjimba, Mooloolaba, Coolum, Cotton Tree, Dicky Beach and Maroochydore – are fully booked for the school holidays.
The $6.6 million loss was largely due to the $2.2 million business support package, a reduction in revenue from the Sunshine Coast Airport royalties, refunds on commercial waste cleaning charges, the holiday parks’ closure and fast-tracked maintenance on council facilities.
During Thursday’s meeting the council also approved $17.6 million in additional grant-funded projects.
“We’re in a strong position at the moment but it’s going to require discipline and some belt tightening to stay out of deficit,” Cr Ted Hungerford said.
“It’s an excellent result considering where we’ve been and what we’ve gone through.”
The budget review resulted in the 2020-21 operating result being reduced by $1.6 million, from $4.3 million to $2.7 million.
Capital revenues have increased by $31.9 million from $101.6 million to $133.6 million and expenditure increased by $29.9 million to $272.3 million