News & Media Releases

Council adopts its 2013/14 Budget

05 June 2013

A project to establish a community centre in Burnley has received a major funding boost in Council’s 2013/14 Budget.

The Burnley Backyard project was allocated $50,000 in the draft budget, but a community campaign saw that amount increased to $200,000 last night in the adopted budget.

Yarra Mayor, Cr Jackie Fristacky, said Council agreed to additional funding after project supporters put forward a strong case for the proposal that would see a community garden, men’s shed and other facilities created at the Tudor Street property.

“We received 52 submissions on the draft budget this year, many of which presented thoughtful and compelling arguments to bring forward this project in the next financial year,” Cr Fristacky said.

“Community consultation on the budget showed overwhelming support for the Burnley Backyard project so Council was keen to pursue its progress sooner rather than later.

“We’ve also listened to residents who argued for a park ranger service at the immensely popular Edinburgh Gardens in North Fitzroy. So a further variation to the budget provides $40,000 for a park ranger trial to begin in the spring.” 

Another major initiative funded in the $138.9 million budget is $200,000 to continue the ‘Trains not Toll Roads’ campaign, which challenges the proposed east-west toll road and advocates for the long-awaited rail line to serve the Doncaster corridor.

In recognition of the acute shortage of affordable space in Yarra for artists, the budget allocates $100,000 for a Creative Spaces Foundation to raise funds to assist local artists and arts organisations.

Council will also invest $1.8 million in community grants in 2013/14 to help support the wonderful work being done by community groups and volunteers in Yarra.

Key infrastructure projects funded from the $34.5 million capital works budget include $680,000 to upgrade the Gold Street Child Care Centre in Collingwood, $700,000 towards continuing the development of the new North Fitzroy Library and Community Hub and $4.4 million to complete the Collingwood Town Hall refurbishment.

Rates for ratepayers will increase by 4.4%, raising total rate revenue to $84.7 million.

Cr Fristacky said Yarra’s rate in the dollar rise was modest and compared favourably to increases being proposed by other Melbourne metropolitan Councils for 2013/14.

“We are conscious of the impact of cost increases on low income earners and disadvantaged members of our community.  For this reason, the budget provides a 10% increase in Yarra’s rate rebate for pensioners (from $136 to $150 per annum).   Further, Council’s concession fee increases for pensioners are moderated to remain affordable,” she said.

“As part of its asset management and renewal strategies, Council is keen to provide appropriate infrastructure to our growing community.  Accordingly, Council has invested 20% of our total budget in capital works, a far higher percentage than the capital investment by other levels of government from their respective budgets.” 

Highlights of this year’s budget include:

  • $138.9 million total operating budget
  • $34.5 million capital works program (includes carried forward projects $2.4 million)
  • $2.3 million in new initiatives
  • $1.8 million for community grants
  • 4.4% rate in the dollar increase for ratepayers
  • 10% increase in the rate rebate for pensioners (from $136 to $150 per annum) as well as continuing to ensure concession fees remain affordable.

New initiatives

  • $398,000 for the Yarra Energy Foundation (YEF) for 2013/14
  • $200,000 to continue the campaign opposing the east west toll road and supporting a new Doncaster rail link
  • $200,000 for the Burnley Backyard project
  • $100,000 for a Creative Spaces Foundation which attracts a dollar for dollar matching contribution from the Lord Mayor's Charitable Trust
  •  $96,000 to develop and deliver year one actions in the Middle Years Strategy 2013–2017
  •  $61,000 for a second Community Safety Officer to respond to issues of community safety raised by residents and traders and to lead greater coordination of Council and external services
  • $40,000 for a trial of a ranger service at Edinburgh Gardens
  • $40,000 for preliminary work on an Urban Forest Strategy.

Capital Works highlights

The adopted $34.5 million capital works program includes:

  • $4.4 million to continue the Collingwood Town Hall upgrade
  • $815,000 for a new combined heat and power (cogeneration) mechanical plant at Richmond Recreation Centre
  • $700,000 for the ongoing North Fitzroy Community Hub (Library) project
  • $680,000 to upgrade the Gold Street Child Care Centre in Collingwood
  • $545,000 to upgrade the Maxwell Sutherland Pavilion in Fairfield
  • $500,000 to fit out the ‘Studio 2’ community facility within the former GTV9 site in Richmond
  • $500,000 to progress the Lourdes Child Care Centre project in Abbotsford
  • $8.9 million for more than 80 road, footpath, drainage and tree root management projects
  • $4.9 million for more than 25 parks and open space projects
  •  $1.7 million for the Victoria Street Gateway construction
  • $1.2 million for bicycle lanes, paths and associated infrastructure
  • $592,000 to implement Local Area Traffic Management Plans.

Factors impacting the budget
There are a number of mandatory State Government charges that impact Yarra’s budget in 2013/14.

Fire Services Property Levy
From 1 July 2013, Victorian Councils have been directed by the State Government to collect this levy. Although appearing on rates notices, this is not a Council charge for Council services, but a State levy. Council expects to save about $1.5 million from the new collection system. That saving will be reinvested into the community via the capital works and new initiatives budget. You can read more about the Fire Services Property Levy on Council’s website.

State Government Landfill Levy
Costs associated with the landfill levy will also rise by 10% next year. The approximate amount of this levy for Yarra will be over $1 million - an increase of $95,000 on the previous year.

Defined Benefit Superannuation Liability
Council is required to ‘top up’ the defined benefit superannuation liability (a superannuation scheme which pre-dated amalgamation). Yarra’s liability for this ‘top up’ is around $13.5 million. Council proposes to pay out this sum through a loan, spreading the repayments over a number of years rather than funding a lump sum payment with a major rate increase in one year.

Further information
Toby Walker
Acting Coordinator Communications and Public Relations
9205 5120








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