2023/24 Annual Budget and key documents adopted

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Baw Baw Shire Council has taken prudent and measured action in response to current economic and environmental challenges, adopting an Annual Budget that delivers now, and lays down markers to ensure a healthy, thriving, and sustainable Baw Baw Shire for years to come.

The 2023/24 Annual Budget was adopted at last night’s Ordinary Council meeting along with the Long-term Infrastructure Plan (LTIP), Council Plan 2021-2025 (Annual Review 2023/24), Revenue and Rating Plan, and Long-Term Financial Plan.

Together, these documents detail how Council will deploy its resources with pragmatism and purpose to ensure our residents have access to the services, infrastructure, and support they need across Baw Baw.

Following a public submission process, the finalised Budget also includes an additional $460,000 allocated to fund 15 initiatives and projects specifically requested by the community.

“On behalf of Council, I’m proud to present an Annual Budget that is prudent, measured and which will deliver for our residents now and into the future,” says Mayor of Baw Baw Shire Cr Annemarie McCabe. “Baw Baw Shire is a big place, and there are a lot of big things in store for the financial year ahead. Our ‘plan, design, deliver’ approach will see $58 million of vital infrastructure delivered this financial year, and $16.8 million for road projects across the shire.”

“Our community is the centrepiece of this Budget and everything we do,” says Mayor McCabe. “I would like to thank everyone who provided their input in response to the draft Budget throughout April and May.”

“Baw Baw is one of few Victorian councils to put funds aside during the annual budget process to be allocated in direct response to community requests. We do it because we are committed to giving our community every opportunity to advocate for what is most important to them. It is a credit to their passion and dedication to their community that our final budget includes funding for 15 new community-requested projects totalling $460,000.”

Annual Budget 2023/24

The 2023/24 Operating Budget represents an income of $129.58 million, expenditure of $101.86 million, resulting in a surplus of $27.72million.

This surplus figure is converted to an adjusted underlying result that better reflects Council’s level of financial stability. This result excludes grants received for capital purposes which are non-recurrent and capital contributions from other sources. The adjusted underlying result for 2023/24 is an underlying deficit of $3.78million.

This underlying deficit reflects a financial position consistent with the current rate capped environment of 3.5 per cent, and the realities of delivering services and infrastructure for a rapidly growing Shire population.

Click here to view Council’s Annual Budget 2023/24

Long Term Infrastructure Plan

Council’s Long Term Infrastructure Plan 2023/24 -2033/34 (LTIP) adopts an innovative ‘plan, design, deliver’ approach that will see $58.06 million of projects delivered across the financial year, including the Warragul Leisure Centre Stadium Expansion Project, the Rokeby – Noojee Trail and Rollo Street Reserve projects.

Each of these multi-million-dollar projects will deliver sporting infrastructure designed to support passive recreational activities that contribute the physical and mental health of the community and meet the needs of a growing population.

In addition, a Community Infrastructure Reserve has been established to enable future investment in community infrastructure that may include recreation facilities, early years infrastructure and community facilities for the benefit of our residents.

Click here to view Council’s Long Term Infrastructure Plan 2023/24 -2033/34

An additional $460,000 for Community Requested Projects

As a direct result of the submissions received during the consultation period (13 April to 7 May 2023), 15 additional community requested projects have been funded in the 2023/24 Annual Budget.

Council has invested $415,000 with $45,000 to be contributed towards two projects from local clubs.

Click here to view the full list of Community Requested Projects in the Annual Budget

Council Plan 2021-2025 (Annual Review 2023/23)

The Council Plan is a four-year road map laying out the services, priorities and strategies we will pursue to ready the Shire for the future, and support community quality of life as we continue to grow. It was adopted in 2021 and is reviewed and updated each year to make sure it remains aligned with the Community Vision’s strategic objectives of a sustainable, healthy and thriving community and Shire.

Revenue and Rating Plan

The total revenue from rates and charges for 2023/24 is $73.85 million (including supplementary valuations and interest on rates and charges).

The rate increase is capped at 3.5 per cent in line with the Victorian Government’s Fair Go Rates System (FGRS). The rate cap applies to the total rates revenue received by Council, not to individual ratepayers.

At the time the rate cap was announced, inflation was 8 per cent in the 12 months to December 2022 – more than double the rate cap of 3.5 per cent. Operating within this rate capped environment presents a significant challenge because it means that Council’s rates revenue alone is not sufficient to fund all the services and infrastructure that it is required to deliver.

Despite these challenges, Council has kept average annual fee adjustments to 6%, below the CPI increase of 8% in the 12 months to December 2022.

Long Term Financial Plan

The Long Term Financial Plan is developed to align Council’s financial capacity with long-term service objectives. Financial planning uses forecasts to provide insight into future financial capacity so that strategies can be developed to achieve long-term sustainability considering Council’s service objectives and financial challenges.

/Public Release. View in full here.