Yarra's draft Budget 2023/24 delivers for community while addressing financial challenges

Wednesday 19 April 2023

A group of adults and children stand in a sunny park

Yarra City Council has built a responsible draft Budget that invests in a better school commute for families, local liveable streets, more parks and open spaces, tackling the climate emergency, and better bicycle and road infrastructure.

Council has worked hard to prepare a draft Budget that aligns with Yarra’s Council Plan 2021-25 and Community Vision and delivers what the community wants, while addressing ongoing financial challenges and prioritising financial sustainability.

“Key projects this financial year go towards better options for the school commute for families, building local liveable streets, more parks and open spaces, tackling the Climate Emergency, improving bicycle and road safety and infrastructure, and enhancing sport and recreation opportunities,” Yarra Mayor Cr Claudia Nguyen said.

Project highlights for this year’s Budget include:

  • Accelerating Yarra's Tree Planting program as a Natural Cooling Climate Emergency Response by increasing annual planting from 330 to 660 trees.

  • Creating new parks and open spaces and upgrading existing with new park furniture, play and sports equipment, toilets and other amenities.

  • Preparation and planning for the New Deal for Schools, a flagship transport program to increase the proportion of children walking, cycling and scooting to school, reduce school traffic, and improve the school commute for families.

  • Making a range of improvements across Yarra’s bicycle network with a focus on Strategic Cycling Corridors like Wellington Street’s bicycle lanes.

  • Replacing library resources across all libraries and expanding the Open Library program to ensure these vital community hubs are relevant, resourceful and accessible for our community.

  • Ongoing implementation of the community-led Local Liveable Streets initiative to turn our streets into liveable and dynamic spaces for the community.

  • Ongoing funding for community street events and activations that celebrate the diversity and vibrancy of Yarra, like Lunar New Year and the Johnston St Fiesta.

  • Enhancing youth engagement and participation, focussing on at-risk young people, promoting the voices of young people and participation in decision-making and employment opportunities.

  • Improving parking and road safety and amenity by reconstructing several laneways, footpaths, pavements, and kerbs, improving pedestrian and traffic management, and developing a parking strategy.

  • Planning, implementing and researching improvements to pedestrian infrastructure in Cremorne, particularly around key intersections.

  • Implementing the Curtain Square Stormwater Harvesting Scheme that will deliver a 420-kilolitre underground tank to store stormwater, saving 10 million litres of potable water per year.

  • Continuing to rollout the Zero Carbon Households and Better Energy Better Business programs to support Yarra residents and businesses to reduce emissions by creating efficient, electric homes and businesses powered by renewable energy.

  • Improving the community’s digital access and customer experience with upgrades to the Council website to make it easier for residents to interact with Council, anywhere, anytime.

  • Expanding Council’s community engagement program.

“Yarra City Council prides itself on the quality, accessibility, and diversity of services we provide to the community. In addition to the services most Councils provide, Yarra offers community support programs including affordable childcare and disability services, and a broad range of fitness and leisure facilities and programs,” Mayor Nguyen said.

“Like all councils in Victoria, Yarra is facing challenges to our financial sustainability from rising cost pressures, rate capping and cost-shifting, along with increasing pressure and demand on our services and infrastructure from a rapidly growing population.”

“So that Council can continue to provide our community with quality services and infrastructure for future generations, we need to make some crucial decisions now that will have tangible benefits in the years to come.”

“The draft 2023/24 Budget strikes a balance between addressing financial challenges, prioritising existing services and infrastructure, and delivering a range of projects that will help achieve our community’s vision for Yarra.”

“In addition to delivering a responsible Budget, Council is taking a number of measures to address financial challenges and achieve financial sustainability so that resources are evenly distributed between current and future residents.”

“We are prioritising the continued provision of quality community services and programs, along with upgrades to existing assets and infrastructure over new investments.”

“All new investment decisions will be strictly based on need, underpinned by evidence, and guided by informed strategies.”

“Ongoing reviews will be conducted to find additional savings and cost efficiencies across all Council operations including reviewing capital works delivery management, fleet reduction, tight expenditure control, and reduction of debt.”

“General rates will increase by 3.5%, in line with the 2023/24 rate cap implemented by the Victorian Government, which is below the 4% recommended by the Essential Services Commission based on CPI forecast.”

“Council has resolved to separate waste service charges from general rates to account for the increasing costs of waste and recycling services, in line with all other Victorian Councils.”

“The preparation of a long-term Financial Sustainability Strategy is underway, to identify reforms to help us achieve a healthy long-term financial position.”

“Council will continue to support vulnerable community members through its Hardship Policy and Pensioner Rebate.”

Read the draft Budget for 2023/24

At the 18 April Council meeting, Council resolved to approve the draft Budget 2023/24, with some minor amendments. Council also resolved to approve, with minor amendments, the Long-Term Financial Plan 2023/24 to 2032/33 which has been updated to incorporate this year’s Budget, and the Revenue and Rating Plan 2023/24 which has been updated to reflect the separation of the waste services charge from general rates.

The updated documents are provided below:

Draft Budget for 2023/24 (6.6MB, PDF)
Long-term Financial Plan 2023/24 to 2032/33 (2.1MB, PDF)
Revenue and Rating Plan 2023/24 (1.1MB, PDF)

The draft Budget 2023/24 and corresponding financial plans are open for community feedback from Friday 21 April until Friday 19 May. To provide feedback online, visit Your Say Yarra or attend one of our information sessions below.

Information sessions

Saturday 29 April 2023
10am to 12pm
Outside Fairfield Boathouse
Fairfield Park Dr, Fairfield

Fitzroy North
Wednesday 3 May 2023
6pm to 8pm
Bargoonga Nganjin North Fitzroy Library community room
182-186 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North

Thursday 4 May 2023
10am to 12pm
Cohealth Collingwood
365 Hoddle St, Collingwood

Saturday 6 May 2023
9am to 11am
Jack Dyer Pavilion
Cnr Gleadell & Highett Sts, Richmond

Carlton North
Tuesday 9 May 2023
5pm to 7pm
Carlton Library
667 Rathdowne St, North Carlton

Clifton Hill
Thursday 11 May 2023
10am to 12pm
Collingwood Leisure Centre
2-28 Turnbull St, Clifton Hill

Monday 15 May 2023
5pm to 7pm
Building A, Bendigo Kangan Institute
49 Dove St, Cremorne


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