Council debt worries Rocky residents

Today’s Rockhampton Morning-Bulletin features an interesting debate between a local resident and Mayor Brad Carter regarding the sustainability of Rockhampton Regional Council’s $200 million debt, which is among the highest in per capita terms of the 20 largest Councils in Queensland (see figure below, based on Queensland Treasury Corporation and OESR data).

I don’t know enough about the merits of the infrastructure investments the Council has funded with recent borrowings to draw a firm conclusion regarding Rocky’s debt level. I do however agree with the Mayor that borrowing is defensible where it pays for necessary infrastructure, and the amount of debt in question is small relative to the size of the Council’s balance sheet.

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