Council’s 2023-24 Draft Budget sets responsible priorities


Mildura Rural City Council has released its 2023-24 Draft Budget, detailing how the organisation will fund services for the more than 55,000 residents who call our region home while progressing with the goals in our Council Plan.

The $149 million Draft Budget is now available for public comment, outlining Council’s work to balance delivery of services and facilities with ongoing cost pressures, including the region’s recovery from the Murray River flood event.

Mildura’s Deputy Mayor Helen Healy said achieving this balance while minimising the financial impact on ratepayers was among the biggest challenges in developing any budget, made even more difficult this year.

“This has been one of our most challenging budgets due to rapidly increasing inflation, which is driving up the cost of delivering services to the community,” Cr Healy said.

“As an example, based on our 2022-23 Budget to 31 March this year, the cost of materials and services to maintain our existing service delivery levels has increased by more than 28% as a result of rising inflation.

“This is a trend being seen across the local government sector, which is why many local government areas are recommending rate increases in line with the Victorian Government’s Fair Go Rate cap.”

Despite these factors, including CPI currently sitting at 7%, Council’s Draft Budget does not seek a rate increase over the Victorian Government’s Fair Go Rate Cap of 3.5%.

Key features of the 2023-24 Draft Budget include a $41.5 million capital works program to improve and upgrade community assets:

  • $12.43 million on buildings and building improvements
  • $8.73 million on roads
  • $6.93 million on drainage
  • $3.22 million on parks, open spaces and streetscapes
  • $1.76 million on recreation, leisure and community facilities.

A snapshot of specific projects include:

  • Red Cliffs Integrated Early Years facility (dependent on matching funding)
  • Nowingi Place Adventure Park
  • Nichols point Recreation Reserve sports facility
  • Upgrade to the Murrayville Kindergarten
  • Lighting upgrade at Henshilwood Recreation Reserve

Cr Healy said ensuring residents continue to receive the services they expect and deserve, no matter where they live across our 22,000 square-kilometre municipality, was a major priority in developing the Draft Budget.

“One of the fundamental roles of local government is to provide the services communities need to enjoy safe, healthy and fulfilling lives,” she said.

“This could mean everything from the Maternal and Child Health Services our teams deliver through to maintaining the roads we rely on every day to get around.

“The major piece of work that determines how we go about funding these more than 100 services is our Annual Budget.

“It’s also incredibly important these services and future projects can be delivered in the longer term, which is why we need to seriously consider the financial sustainability of our organisation in any Annual Budget deliberations or decisions.”

More than $12 million has been allocated to deliver youth, children and family services, $3.8 million for initiatives to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of our community and $2.9 million for library services.

Residents are encouraged to view the Draft Budget and provide their feedback by visiting Feedback can be provided until 5pm on Friday, 2 June.

/Public Release. View in full here.