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Council Budget delivers for community

Council Budget delivers for community

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Increasing community grant funding including for local seniors’ groups, a greater focus on maintaining open space and trees and more money for footpaths and drainage maintenance are just some of the highlights of the City of Whittlesea’s 2023-24 Budget which was endorsed by Council on 27 June. 

Council also endorsed its Community Plan Action Plan for 2023-24 which outlines 56 priority projects that align with the Whittlesea 2040 goals of Connected Community, Liveable Neighbourhoods, Sustainability Environment, Strong Local Economy and High Performing Organisation. 

The $371.1 million Budget includes an operating budget of $295.74 million and a focused capital works program of $75.37 million. 

Chair Administrator Lydia Wilson said both documents were endorsed following extensive community consultation. 

“I would like to thank our community for taking their time to have their say and telling us what’s important to them.” 

More than 1300 contributions were received both during consultation to inform the draft and on the draft Budget and Community Plan Action Plan.  

Council received 71 formal submissions which were considered by a Committee of Council. 

“We have carefully considered all the feedback as well as being cognisant of the financial pressures on community and on Council. We believe this budget strikes the right balance between delivering what our residents want and need now, while still ensuring we remain financially sustainable into the future. 

“Our Budget identifies opportunities for continuous improvement and cost savings as well as investing in those areas which are important to our community such as grants, roads and open space.” 

To lessen the burden on families, the Budget allows for Council to continue to subsidise waste charges, specifically the State Government Landfill Levy. 

The Budget ensures Council can continue to deliver 147 services to the community as well as building and maintaining essential roads, infrastructure, and facilities. 

To do so, there will be an average rate increase of 3.5 percent in 2023-24, in line with the rate cap set by the Victorian Government despite inflation rising by 7.8% in the 12 months to the December 2022 quarter. 

Highlights of the Budget include: 

  • Opening the library at the Mernda Town Centre and commencing work on the library hub at Kirrip Community Centre in Wollert 
  • increasing funding for community grants by $0.66 million, or 33%, to $2.69 million 
  • launching a Whittlesea Services Hub in Whittlesea township to make it easier for residents in the northern part of the municipality to communicate and transact with Council 
  • developing a one-stop-shop online customer portal to make it easier for customers to interact with Council online 
  • commencing the design and site preparation of the Regional Aquatic and Sport Centre 
  • continuing the construction of Granite Hills Major Community Park 
  • commencing construction of the Aboriginal Gathering Place 
  • delivering a multi-faceted program to tackle illegal rubbish dumping and improve local amenity especially in new communities 
  • developing a new Community Local Law to reflect the community’s views on how we want to show respect for one another, protect our people and our local environment 
  • Revamping Council’s Community Grants program to ensure a wider and more equitable distribution of funding 
  • funding to support local business including a grants program, industry development programs and an Agri-Food Action Plan to attract investment in the sector 
  • finalising the renewed Epping Central Structure Plan to ensure the precinct continues to thrive as an employment, housing, retail, health and education hub. 

Click here to view the City of Whittlesea 2023-24 Budget and Community Plan Action Plan.