News & Media Releases

Yarra’s draft Budget released for public comment

16 April 2013

The community is invited to comment on Council’s proposed 2013/14 Budget and four year Council Plan, both on public exhibition until Thursday 16 May 2013.

Mayor Cr Jackie Fristacky said the draft $138.7 million operating budget aimed to meet the needs and aspirations of the Yarra community for continued investment in vital Council services and programs

"The budget also demonstrates Council’s strong leadership through advocacy and action in areas of environmental sustainability, public transport and cycling, affordable housing, planning and construction management, social justice and community safety," Cr Fristacky said.

A highlight of the draft budget is a $34.5 million capital works program to both maintain and improve existing roads, bike lanes, footpaths, laneways, community buildings, parks, gardens and open space and provide funds for new and much-needed infrastructure.

“Council is allocating approximately 20% of its total budget on capital works which is much higher than the percentage contributed to infrastructure by other levels of government in their budgets,” Cr Fristacky said. “This is an indication of how much of the load Local Government carries for maintaining and improving local infrastructure and how efficiently we can do it.”

Cr Fristacky said the draft Budget also continues to support previous Council commitments such as the refurbishment of the iconic Collingwood Town Hall, progressing the North Fitzroy Community Hub and Lourdes Child Care Centre projects, growing the Community Infrastructure Fund for the Indoor Sports Centre and funding the Yarra Energy Foundation.

“While we are committed to the investment in community facilities, Councillors are also conscious of the need to minimise rate increases and the impact on Yarra’s low income earners and disadvantaged members of our community. We are proposing a moderate 4.4% rate increase."

For more information or to view the draft Budget document in full, visit the Council Budget webpage.

Highlights of the draft budget include:

  • $138.7 million total operating budget
  • $34.5 million capital works program (includes $2.4 million in works carried forward from 2012/13)
  • $2.1 million in new initiatives
  • $1.8 million for community grants
  • 4.4% rate 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

The draft Budget proposes to fund new initiatives including:

  • $398,000 for the Yarra Energy Foundation (YEF) for 2013/14
  • $120,000 for advocacy to State and Federal levels on issues of major importance to the community as well as $100,000 to continue the Trains not Tollroads advocacy for Doncaster Rail and opposing the East West tollroad
  • $100,000 for a Creative Spaces Foundation which attracts a dollar for dollar matching contribution from the Lord Mayor's Charitable Trust
  • $96,457 to develop and deliver year one actions in the Middle Years Strategy 2013 – 2017
  • $61,568 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. 

Capital Works Highlights 

Buildings & Properties

More than 40 building projects are planned at a total cost of $13.1 million including:

  • $4.4 million to continue the Collingwood Town Hall upgrade (includes $1 million carried forward from 2012/13).
  • $815,000 for a new combined heat and power (cogeneration) mechanical plant at Richmond Recreation Centre.
  • $700,000 to complete the design and documentation, and to award the contract to start the North Fitzroy Community Hub (Library) project.
  • $680,000 to upgrade the Gold Street Child Care Centre in Collingwood.
  • $545,000 to commence an upgrade of the Maxwell Sutherland Pavilion in Fairfield.
  • $500,000 to “fitout” the ‘Studio 2’ community facility within the former GTV9 site in Richmond.
  • $500,000 to progress the Lourdes Child Care Centre project.
  • $170,000 replacement of toilet block in Edinburgh Gardens, North Fitzroy.
  • $150,000 for improvements to the floor at Ryans Reserve Netball/Tennis Court and Pavilion.
  • $100,000 for renovating the bathroom facilities at Fairfield Park Canoe club and residence.
  • $50,000 for improvements to the floor of the Clifton Hill Tennis Club - Mayors Park.
  • New kitchens for Kevin Bartlett Reserve pavilion $35,000 and Fitzroy Child Care Co-operative $20,000. 

Activity Centres

  • $1.7 million Victoria Street gateway construction ($200,000 carried forward from 2012/13)
  • $375,000 for improvements to Post Office Walk Lane in Richmond.


  • $880,000 for renewals at 14 locations across Yarra. 

Parks and Open Space

More than 25 projects are planned at a total cost of $4.9 million including:

  • $1.1 million for a new park in Church Street Richmond.
  • $680,000 for a new park in Richmond Terrace/ Docker Street.
  • Funds to improve a range of parks including Alphington Park, Loyola Bike Track, Hall Reserve, Kevin Bartlett Reserve, Burnley Park, Ramsden Street Oval, Ryan Reserve, Annette’s Place/River Street Reserve, Holden Street Reserve, Swan Street (Yarra Boulevard) Reserve, Williams Reserve, Darling Gardens, Curtains Square, Quarries Park, Victoria Park Oval, Main Yarra Trail and Clifton Reserve.
  • $90,000 for improvements to play and outdoor areas.
  • $200,000 for bushland vegetation at various sites.

Bicycle Infrastructure

About $1.1 million for bicycle lanes, paths and associated infrastructure, including:

  • $100,000 for bicycle path planning and design
  • $200,000 for bicycle strategy works, typically bicycle lanes, ramps and signal changes
  • $300,000 for the proposed Wellington Street Copenhagen lanes (between Johnston Street and Victoria Parade)subject to further consultation
  • $180,000 for works carried forward from the Yarra Bicycle Strategy
  • $312.000 for works on the Main Yarra Trail.

Roads, Footpaths, Drains, Tree Root Management and Retail Shopping Strips

More than 80 projects planned at a total cost of about $9.1 million including:

  • $690,000 for Grosvenor Street Abbotsford
  • $435,000 for Coppin Street, Richmond
  • $405,000 for Spensely Street Clifton Hill
  • $300,000 for Bridge Road, Richmond
  • $270,000 for The Esplanade Clifton Hill
  • $230,000 for Church Street, Richmond
  • $200,000 for Rathdown Street Carlton North
  • $180,000 for Nicholson Street Fitzroy North
  • $170,000 for Park Street Carlton North
  • $160,000 for Egan Street Richmond
  • $120,000 for Easey Street Collingwood

Transport Management

Examples of projects include:

  • $592,000 to implement actions from a number of Local Area Traffic Management plans
  • $150,000 for projects to improve road safety at identified local 'blackspot' locations. 

Factors impacting the budget

There are a number of mandatory State Government charges that impact Yarra’s budget and the budgets of all Councils across Victoria.
Among these is the Fire Services Property Levy which Councils have been directed by the State Government to collect. 
Although this levy will appear on rates notices, it is not a Council charge for Council services. 
You can read more about the Fire Services Property Levy on Council’s website.

State Government landfill levy costs will also rise by 10% next year. 
The approximate amount Yarra will be paying for this levy will be over $1million - an increase of $95,000 on the previous year.  
This is a major incentive for everyone to reduce what we send to landfill.

Another impact will be the “top up” of the defined benefit superannuation liability (a scheme which pre-dated amalgamation). 
Yarra Council’s liability for this super fund top up is around $13.5 million.  
Council is determined to borrow this amount to pay the liability off over a number of years rather than have a major impost on ratepayers in any one year.

Have your say 

Council encourages community members to find out more about the draft Budget and draft Council Plan and to provide feedback.

The full Budget and Council Plan documents are available at

Hard copies are available to view at:

  • Richmond Town Hall
  • Collingwood Temporary Customer Service Centre
  • All Yarra Libraries branches
  • All Maternal Child Health Centres. 

Information sessions

You can find out more at some upcoming joint community information sessions. Council officers will be on hand to answer questions and listen to your feedback.

Wednesday 8 May from 12.30pm – 2pm at the Fitzroy Town Hall (201 Napier Street)
Thursday 9 May from 5.30pm – 7pm at the Richmond Town Hall (333 Bridge Road)

 If you need an interpreter to attend an information session, please contact Tess Simson, Consultation and Research Officer, on 9205 5154.

Written submissions must be received by 5pm on Thursday 16 May and can be hand delivered to the Richmond Town Hall, posted to Tess Simson, Consultation and Research Officer, at PO Box 168, Richmond VIC 3121 or emailed to

 Any person requesting to be heard in support of a written submission is entitled to be heard by Council or to be represented by a person acting on his or her behalf. Council will hear and consider submissions at its meeting at the Fitzroy Town Hall on Tuesday 21 May from 6.30pm.

Council is then expected to adopt the draft Budget and draft Council Plan – with or without changes – at the Council Meeting to be held at the Richmond Town Hall on Tuesday 4 June from 6.30pm.


For media inquiries, please contact Toby Walker, Senior Communications Officer, on 9205 5120 or Toby.Walker@yarracity.vic,

For further information about the draft budget, please call Phil Mason, Manager Finance, on 9205 5449, or at



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