A Big Budget For Wyndham

Upgraded roads, new community buildings, improved sporting reserves and pavilions, improved open spaces, and recovery initiatives post COVID-19 are just some of the big-ticket items that make up this year’s Proposed Annual Plan and Budget.

The proposed plan and budget was endorsed by Councillors to be released for public feedback at a Council meeting last night (Tuesday, 23rd June).

Wyndham City Mayor, Cr Josh Gilligan, said the 2020/21 Proposed Annual Plan and Budget was the final of this Council term, with a focus on completing the delivery of all the Council’s commitments under the City Plan.

“As our population grows at a rapid rate, it’s important that we work to build a liveable city – not just a big city. That’s what we’ve been working hard to deliver over the past four years, and exactly what this Budget will do,” Cr Gilligan said.

“We’re proposing to spend up to $103.8 million on capital works, bringing together a record spend of $423.8 million over the past four years.”

“We know that roads are important to our local community, that’s why we’re proposing to spend $8.7 million on the reconstruction of local roads, and $3 million to resurface others,” Cr Gilligan said.

“While the quality of roads is important, so too is ensuring that these roads have the capacity to take the volume of cars. We know that Tarneit Road is often gridlocked, so we’re putting forward $1 million to duplicate Tarneit Road between Sayers and Leakes Roads, building on the duplication works already done on this stretch.”

“We’re also continuing to invest in Little River roads, allocating $1 million to widen local roads in this area.”

Cr Gilligan said the Budget wasn’t just about roads, with funds also set aside for sporting reserves.

“We know the important role that sport makes in our community, and as a Council, a key priority of ours has been to encourage our residents to be active,” Cr Gilligan said.

“Some key investments in sport over the coming financial year include $3.5 million for new soccer facilities at Galvin Park, and $950,000 for a new car park, pavilion and landscaping at Bensonhurst Parade Reserve.”

With a rapidly growing population in the Tarneit area, Cr Gilligan said another key focus was providing residents with access to essential Council services.

“The new Riverdale Community Centre in Tarneit is currently under construction, on track to open by early 2021. We’re allocating $4.8 this financial year towards the construction of this important facility, which will ensure residents have access to early childhood education, maternal and child health services, and a wide range of programs and community spaces,” Cr Gilligan said.

“$10.2 million has also been allocated to commence construction of two new children’s centres in Truganina and Tarneit North.”

“We’re also continuing to upgrade our local parks, with $2.90 million allocated to breathe new life into these parks.”

“But it isn’t just about infrastructure. Also central to this Budget is the provision of services. We’re allocating $16.18 million to deliver kindergarten and children services, $12.27 million on maternal and child health and immunisation services, $9.32 million to operate local libraries, $1.85 million on home care support to ensure our older residents can continue to live independently.”

In the context of COVID-19, the Budget also focuses on delivering programs to support vulnerable or hard-to-reach communities during the pandemic recovery, as well as providing support to local businesses and agencies to ensure our community recuperates as quickly, and as safely as possible.

“A key budget item is the continued delivery of the $5 million WynLocal Economic Support package, including $1.5 million in business support grants, to contain the adverse economic impacts on small to medium business, and to support local employment,” Cr Gilligan said.

This Budget proposes a 2% rate variation, which is consistent with the State Government imposed rate cap. This recognises that revenue from rates is the primary source of funding for Council in being able to provide community service and infrastructure now and into the future.

“The Budget also recognises the social and economic impacts on our community from COVID-19 and that ratepayers will be impacted differently,” Cr Gilligan said.

“Focus will continue to ensure that the most vulnerable in our community are supported through our hardship policy provisions.”

“On an underlying basis, before depreciation expense, the budget delivers an operating surplus of around $59.5 million. This is a significant result given we are facing extraordinary circumstances with the COVID-19 pandemic with substantial impacts on Council operations.”

The State Government now revalues properties on an annual basis. The 2020/21 rates will therefore be based on property values as at 1 January 2020. The State Government has ruled that these values will stand regardless of any impact of COVID-19.

/Public Release. View in full here.