Ipswich City Council mayor Teresa Harding, CEO David Farmer and chief financial officer Jeef Keech.
Ipswich City Council mayor Teresa Harding, CEO David Farmer and chief financial officer Jeef Keech.

Major projects delayed with capital works spend under budget

A NUMBER of large projects being delivered by Ipswich City Council are behind schedule with the overall capital works spend for this financial year forecast to be 16.4 per cent under budget.

The infrastructure and environment department’s capital portfolio financial performance report for December was presented to councillors at this month’s Growth, Infrastructure and Waste Committee.

The department is responsible for the constructed and natural assets of the city and manages the council’s roads, traffic systems, buildings, parks, drains and green spaces.

Ipswich City Council's concept plan for upgrades at Sutton Park in Brassall. The project did not attract a single applicat during the tender process.
Ipswich City Council's concept plan for upgrades at Sutton Park in Brassall. The project did not attract a single applicat during the tender process.

The year to date expenditure is $19.7 million against the year to date budget of $33.2 million, which is 41 per cent under budget.

Overall the financial year expenditure forecast is expected to be $72.4 million against the financial year budget of $86.5 million, which will be 16.4 per cent under budget.

A call out to take on works for a new skate facility at a park in Brassall did not attract a single applicant during the tender process.

The department’s general manager Charlie Dill left the council suddenly last month after seven years with the organisation.

He was grilled by councillors over delays at January’s general council meeting.

According to the report, some of that $14.2 variance is down to $4.1 million saved on the seal road rehabilitation sub-program, $1 million saved on a stormwater sub-program and about $207,000 saved from a bridge and culvert rehabilitation sub-program.

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At January’s council meeting, mayor Teresa Harding requested a list of projects which would be delayed until the 2021-22 financial year.

These include the Sutton Park Skate Facility, Pettigrew St drainage works, Trevor St rehabilitation works, Denmark Hill works, Mary St and William St intersection upgrade, Springfield stage four road works and Queens Park bank stabilisation,

“IED capital expenditure is below budget year to date, with monthly spend forecast to increase considerably in February for the remainder of the financial year,” the report notes.

“Significant spends are anticipated from March through May in order to deliver remaining works.

“Project budgets will be reviewed as part of council’s budget amendments in the coming months, particularly where projects have been rescheduled within the three year capital program.”

A budget amendment after a six month review is now underway.

“There are considerable savings and deferred works in relation to the rehabilitation program totalling approximately $9 million in the 2020-2021 year,” the report notes.

“Informed by council’s asset management plans and depending on final cash availability, it would be recommended that additional rehabilitation expenditure be considered in the 2021 2022 budget in relation to the sealed road rehabilitation savings identified.”

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The report notes the majority of works for Springfield road projects are on track but the full completion date of stage four could yet be moved to October next year.

The multi-year Redbank Plains Rd stage three roadworks is currently forecast to be $940,000 over budget this financial year.

The report to council states this includes a $794,000 prepayment for NBN works that are expected to be completed next financial year.

“Major service conflict with Telstra and old water main requiring NBN redesign and relocation has extinguished any anticipated savings on Robertson Rd traffic signals, with forecast expenditure now at $2.6 million, exceeding current budget by $742,000,” it reads.

Cr Harding said councillors received a large number of calls about the progress of new projects and infrastructure upgrades.

“I think it’s really important we do keep an eye on that capital works program to make sure we are actually delivering on that program,” she said.

D elayed Ipswich City Council major capital works for 2020-21

Sutton Park Skate Facility: Due to delays as initial tender process produced no submissions.

Pettigrew St Drainage works: Due to delay in design finalisation and subsequent application for State Government permit approvals to work within the Bremer River.

Trevor St Rehabilitation: Delayed with commencement of works. Multi-year

project with sufficient funding in current budget for 2021-2022 financial year.

Denmark Hill: Delay in finalising design and subsequent delay in commencement of bridge works, which are required to be completed prior to commencing other works.

Mary St and William St intersection upgrade: Due to delays with property acquisitions and service relocations.

Springfield stage four works: Delayed due to negotiations with Department of Transport and Main Roads on the park ‘n’ ride facility adjacent to the roadway.

Queens Park bank stabilisation: Delayed to align with Ipswich Bowling Club’s

need for works to commence no earlier than May 2021.

Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.



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