Colac Otway Shire Council has adopted its 2021–2022 Budget with a focus on services, sustainability and growth in six key initiatives identified by Council as priorities for the 2021–2022 financial year.
Opening up land for residential and economic growth along, implementation of sustainable waste collection services and construction of an Early Year’s Hub in Apollo Bay are among initiatives to be undertaken by Council over the next 12 months.
A number of community infrastructure projects will be funded with $13.7 million allocated to the Capital Works Program.
The 2021-2022 Colac Otway Budget includes a rate increase of 1.5 per cent, in line with the State Government’s rate capping framework, which equates to an average increase in general rates and municipal charge of about $27 a year.
Mayor Kate Hanson said the budget aimed to deliver a strong, strategic base for growth of the Colac Otway community.
“This year’s budget development process has been extensive and we’ve worked to develop a budget which meets community needs and expectations in the delivery of Council services while balancing long-term financial management.
“Councillors took into consideration community submissions along with input from management and staff to develop a framework for our community to benefit from projects with a focus on growth, infrastructure and sustainability.
“We thank the community for submissions made to this year’s Council budget. Feedback from the community indicated the need for further review of Bluewater Crèche fees and charges. To address this, but not hold up the budget process, Council voted to consider the fees and charges during July and any changes won’t be implemented until voted on by Council at an upcoming meeting.
“A focus for this Council remains addressing the significant lack of development ready land in Colac, which constrains residential and economic growth.
“We’ve seen a considerable demand for real estate in Colac Otway over the last couple of years, and significantly in the last 12 months.
“This budget will provide Council with the means to unlock potential growth areas for key areas of Colac, such as the Deans Creek Growth Corridor, and get land ready for residential development.
“Council will fund this work over 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 while also advocating to the State Government to assist with additional funding.
“Council is also investing in vital children’s services through contributions to the Apollo Bay community in construction of an Early Years Hub. The Hub will move the preschool on to the Apollo Bay P-12 site and will include a dedicated space for Maternal and Child Health.
“The Early Years Hub is important for the growing community’s future and will provide a new kindergarten facility and permanent base for M&CH services at the school site, which will be fantastic for families.
“The budget also allocates $500,000 for major changes to Colac Otway Shire’s kerbside recycling service for the implementation of the glass only bins for households to separate glass from other waste, which will be rolled out later this year.
“Councillors also voted to review Council operations through 2021-2022 to find $200,000 of savings. The savings will be put in a reserve for Councillors, as a collective, to consider where to allocate at a later date.”
The adopted budgets sets provision for Colac Otway Shire Council to: commence the transition from Corangamite to Geelong Regional Library Corporation; develop an Asset Management Strategy and Asset Management Plan for the six major asset classes (bridges, roads, footpaths, stormwater/drainage, open space/buildings), and conduct a service review of the Colac Regional Saleyards.
Council has retained its existing rating structure in the development of its 2021-22 draft Budget and has committed to a detailed review of the Revenue and Rating Plan during 2021-22 to inform the 2022-23 Budget.
The 2021-22 Budget was prepared in accordance with the Local Government Act 2020,