Mildura Rural City Council’s 2021-22 Draft Budget has been released with a sharp focus on uninterrupted delivery of the more than 100 crucial services Council provides the community, despite the financial pressures of the global pandemic and other emergencies including drought and climate change.
Mildura Mayor Jason Modica said like many businesses and organisations around Australia, Council’s operations had been impacted by the pandemic, resulting in a need to prioritise spending.
“Council has adapted services and continued to deliver a capital works program to ensure our community is supported during these challenging 12 months,” Cr Modica said.
“Over the past year we’ve delivered millions of dollars in COVID-19 support to our community, had increased costs particularly in regard to cleaning and maintenance and seen some revenue sources reduced,” Cr Modica said.
“This has meant a forecast $1.01 million deficit for 2021-22, meaning we’ve needed to make some tough decisions to ensure our budget continues to support delivery of services our community expects and needs.”
Council’s total proposed budget for the 2021-22 Financial Year is $145.07 million. Reduced spending in some areas, such as a $7 million cut to capital works compared to last year, will ensure vital services continue, including:
- $7.87 million for youth, children and family services
- $5.66 million for aged services
- $3.55 million customer services
- $3.36 million for community safety, health and wellbeing.
This investment allows Council to provide aged and disability support for 1,500 residents, administer 13,500 immunisations, deliver 7,800 Maternal and Child Health appointments, support hundreds of local young people through Youth Services programs and assist around 700 children to enrol in local kindergartens.
Despite the current financial pressures, Council has not sought any increase over the Victorian Government’s Fair Go Rate cap for 2021-22, which is 1.5%. This is Council’s lowest rate increase in more than a decade.
“In working through this year’s Draft Budget Councillors and staff have tried wherever possible to avoid passing financial pressures on to the community, and I believe we have achieved that,” Cr Modica said.
While the $43.73 million capital works program is smaller than last year, Council will continue to upgrade and maintain important infrastructure that locals need to go about their daily lives. This includes investing:
- $14.20 million on roads projects
- $2.88 million for waste management projects
- $1.93 million on recreation and leisure projects
- $490,000 on parks, playgrounds and trees
The Draft Budget also includes $16.6 million for two major projects that present significant social and economic benefits for our community. Stage 2 of the Mildura South Regional Sporting Precinct will include construction of squash courts, an additional administration hub, second playing oval, car park expansion and landscaping to compliment Stage 1 of the project that is due for completion mid-2021. The Powerhouse precinct on Mildura’s riverfront will also be revitalised with significant improvements.
Some other key capital works projects budgeted for in 2021-22 include:
- Renovations to the Lake Cullulleraine Community Complex and improvements to the Lake Cullulleraine foreshore
- Redevelopment and landscaping to Mildura’s Deakin Avenue median between Eighth and Ninth Streets
- Construction of a glass sorting and reprocessing facility at Mildura Landfill
- Lighting upgrade at Henshilwood Recreation Reserve, Irymple
- New cricket nets at Quandong Park, Red Cliffs
The community is invited to view the 2021-22 Draft Budget in full and provide feedback on its contents. Copies are available online at mildura.vic.gov.au/haveyoursay or can be requested by calling 03 5018 8100.