It seeks to build back better by investing in bike lanes, new and improved open space and cleaner energy infrastructure.
Broad community consultation for this Budget was held in November and December 2021 where the community shared their ideas and priorities for Yarra. Further consultation was held in April when the draft Budget was presented to the community for feedback. A special Council Meeting was held in late May where the community had the opportunity to provide verbal feedback directly to Councillors.
The final Budget for 2022-23 has built on the draft Budget and includes changes in response to what we heard.
The $219 million Budget 2022-23 focuses on addressing our current and future priorities, whilst also being realistic about the challenging financial environment we are currently operating in.
“Consideration has to be given to improving our operations and making them more efficient, managing costs, attracting external funding and expanding opportunities to generate revenue,” Mayor Wade said.
“While Council can fund its operations at present, there is a need for urgent and meaningful change now, to ensure we can keep providing for our community in the future.”
“This is a Budget that focuses on improving our financial situation, while also delivering a number of great projects that our community needs and expects,” Mayor Wade said.
Council will continue to support its more vulnerable community members through its Hardship Policy and Pensioner Rebate, and we will support the broader community through the following projects:
• Continuing to transition Council buildings off gas, including making significant progress in relation to getting our Town Halls off gas
• Developing the Collingwood College Early Childhood Centre (funded primarily by the Department of Education, in partnership with Collingwood College). Council will deliver a refurbished building and outdoor area for the purpose of Council operating three and four-year-old funded kindergarten, playgroups and occasional care
• Designing a new pocket park in Charlotte Street, Richmond which will be delivered in a following year
• Making a range of improvements across Yarra’s bicycle network
• Improving road safety via programs agreed with the community in Carlton North, Fitzroy North, Clifton Hill, Abbotsford and Richmond
• Delivering programs to support households and businesses to reduce carbon emissions to work towards a zero carbon Yarra
• Continuing master planning for Linear Park including community consultation
• Introducing a CALD digital literacy learning program. Council is engaging officers with community language skills, particularly Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese and Somali, to support our ongoing community and digital learning programs.
• Accelerating Yarra’s tree planting program to hit our urban forest strategy targets sooner
Council expects to deliver significant financial improvements and efficiencies over the next 10 years. In addition to this we are currently undertaking a strategic review of our operations.
In addition, we will be commencing a significant IT investment which will improve our customer experience, providing our community with online access to Council services, anywhere, at any time.
The Budget includes a rate increase of 1.75 per cent which is in line with the 2022-23 rate cap implemented by the Victorian Government, which the Essential Services Commission set based on CPI forecast.
In response to community submissions, we have added $37,000 to this Budget for preliminary design and consultation work for a potential new shared zone in the Perry Street precinct in Collingwood. Council is undertaking these preliminary works with the intention of advocating to the State Government to fund the remainder of the project.
This change has been made in acknowledgment of the major upgrades that have happened and are happening in neighbouring public facilities including Collingwood Yards and Melbourne Polytechnic. This change will help create a vibrant new arts precinct in the heart of Yarra, and support our exciting arts and culture sector who we know have suffered in the pandemic.
A shared zone would also create community connection between the Collingwood public housing estate and the broader community, as well as play a role in transforming Yarra’s network of streets to become more pedestrian friendly. The change would create a safer, more welcoming space for those travelling to and between organisations, businesses and residences in Collingwood.