Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner ordered a Council-wide savings drive this week, but the Greens and Labor have slammed the funding cuts as budget mismanagement.

Both the Greens and the Labor candidates for Lord Mayor have slammed funding cuts announced by the Lord Mayor this week.

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said yesterday that he had ordered a Council-wide savings drive to prevent avoidable costs being passed on to Brisbane’s 1.2 million residents.

Among the projects paused due to the cost-saving measures are the Green Bridges to West End, shading on the Victoria Bridge and a public art program for the Brisbane Metro.

The Lord Mayor said there will be no staff redundancies or impacts on waste collection services.

Lord Mayor Schrinner defended the $400 million cuts, likening them to a necessary belt-tightening exercise to avoid driving up costs for residents. He emphasised that Brisbane has the lowest residential Council rates in southeast Queensland and justified the decision to prioritise keeping costs down.

Just like many households, we’re making the responsible decision to reduce Council spending by 10 per cent to avoid driving up costs for residents.

“We’re being upfront about this tough decision but make no apology for prioritising keeping costs down for households.”

“Other governments might be happy to take the easy route to just keep spending and force up costs but our Council team is not prepared to do that during a cost-of-living crisis.”

The Lord Mayor’s opponents the cuts are due to the failure of the LNP Council to manage its budget.

Leader of the Labor Opposition in Council, Jared Cassidy, said, “Not only is the city staring down the barrel of a cost-of-living crisis, a housing crisis and a congestion crisis, it’s now facing the Schrinner financial crisis, the Lord Mayor’s biggest failure”.

Labor Lord Mayoral candidate Tracey Price said Labor has been calling the LNP out on their budget blow-outs since 2019.

“I’m extremely disappointed that projects and services will be under attack, as well as people’s jobs and livelihoods in this difficult time.”

“I’m all about the community and I know these cuts will be felt hard right across Brisbane where Council services are an important part of our quality of life,” Ms Price said.

“We need a Council that supports the community, is taking action on the housing crisis, tackling suburban congestion and making sure our City is ready for the future. That is not happening under this LNP Council”.

Calling it a “batshit stupid plan“, Greens Mayoral candidate Jonathan Sriranganathan pointed to the Lord Mayor’s decision to reduce infrastructure changes levied on developers.

“Just a few weeks ago, they gave property developers a massive discount in infrastructure charges. Property developers are supposed to contribute their fair share towards the cost of new roads, stormwater drainage pedestrian crossings, and other essential infrastructure to cater for a growing population. But the council basically said to developers, you don’t have to pay that money anymore. And now the council is saying, “Oh, we don’t have enough money coming into our budget, so we’re going to have to cut a whole bunch of services and projects.” 

“We all saw what Campbell Newman or former liberal mayor did a few years ago, and we’re a little nervous that we could see a repeat of that because cutting $430 million worth of projects and services means a lot of stuff is going to go.”

“What’s really frustrating is that so many of the rising costs council is grappling with are ultimately connected to one thing: building more road capacity to carry more cars.”

Mr Sriranganathan said on Facebook that Council should save money by encouraging more people to use public and active transport, “but instead they’re wasting millions on road projects and cutting public and active transport projects instead.”

Local Gabba Ward Councillor Trina Massey and her Labor opponent, Bec Mac (Rebecca McIntosh), raised concerns on social media about the impacts of cutting funding to the Brisbane metro arts program.

“To make up for the LNP administration’s mismanagement and failure, all services and deliveries from the 2023/24 budget will be reviewed, and once again, Brisbane residents lose,” Cr Massey said.


Cover image, iStock