Money, money, money – where does it all go?

Published: 16th July 2020

Queensland councils are so much more than roads, rates, and rubbish. This handy council operational spending pie chart and attendant chart I  want to share with you, courtesy of the LGAQ’s Economics and Finance Lead Roland McMillan, is a clear demonstration of that.  

It shows just where Queensland councils have spent their revenue over the past decade, the 10 financial years post amalgamation. The operating expenditure figures exclude both Unity Water and Urban Utilities outlays. It’s obvious from the pie chart and graphs that the single biggest expenditure outlay is on general expenditure, closely followed by transport, which is largely roads. 

Those two categories account for half of the annual expenditure for all Queensland councils.  There are three other $1 billion-plus annual outlays: sport, recreation and culture; environment (including waste); and housing and community amenities. That $10 billion-a-year in operational expenditure sustains all councils’ services, undertakings and a 40,000-strong workforce. As big a number as it is, it is dwarfed by the $150 billion in community assets on the state-wide council balance sheet. 

Folks, these are very big numbers in anyone’s books, and they show the enormity of the role councils play in every aspect of the lives of Queenslanders. 

Finally, this week our General Manager of Advocacy, Sarah Buckler, left the organisation after three and a half years. It was her third stint at the LGAQ. We thank her for her valued contribution –  including her most recent work on the Battleplan for Queensland Local Communities which has so far netted more than $250 million in economic stimulus funding – and we wish her well in her next endeavour. 

Note: Please refer to this ABS Reference sheet to see the classification of the functions of government.