Draft Budget Report 2021-22 delivers for environment

Surf Coast Shire Council’s Draft Budget Report 2021-22 features a range of initiatives aimed at delivering outcomes for the environment.

Mayor Cr Libby Stapleton said she was proud that the Council would become a certified carbon neutral organisation through the Federal Government’s Climate Active program.

“Accredited carbon offsets will be purchased to offset emissions from operations, services, facilities and work processes. The cost of carbon offsets will partly be funded from landfill gate fees. We will continue taking action to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, with the remaining residual emissions being offset. Council will be a certified carbon neutral organisation by the end of financial year 2021-2022.” Cr Stapleton said.

“Council has taken a strong leadership position in responding to recycling challenges by introducing the new four-bin kerbside waste service earlier than the mandated requirements. Council will also prepare its long-term waste and recycling strategy to bring about a local and regional circular economy.”

Other investments in the budget that support the environment are the continued funding of Council’s Towards Environmental Leadership program, preparing the next section of the Anglesea Landfill, and further work to transition Council buildings to use of renewable energy.

“This is the first budget of our recently-elected Council. It has been carefully developed to meet the needs of our community, as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and look to a more positive future,” she said.

“Councillors want to promote greater inclusion and creativity, and the budget delivers on this. Council will continue to upgrade buildings to be accessible for everyone, introduce a trial of Auslan sign language at Council meetings and events, continue its commitment to the Anglesea Arts Space and fund more public art in the shire. This year we will also establish a role to help Council to improve its engagement with Traditional Owners and support reconciliation.”

Providing community infrastructure is again a key theme of the draft budget, with a $28 million spend on capital works. Just over half of this ($14.5 million) will be spent on new projects, such as the Anglesea Netball Pavilion redevelopment (subject to a successful grant), renewal of Anglesea’s Coogoorah Park boardwalk, and works to support future activity at the former Winchelsea Shire Hall.

The draft budget also includes funding for projects that are already underway, such as the Stribling Reserve Pavilions redevelopment in Lorne and the Grant Pavilion extension in Torquay.

“Infrastructure like this is so important for active and connected communities, which is why we’re investing heavily in upgrades across the shire,” Mayor Stapleton said.

“There is $16.55 million for road upgrades, maintenance and renewal, and $400,000 for Council’s road safety program. Some major improvements will include the pavement rehabilitation of Bell Street, Torquay, widening Barwon Park Road, Winchelsea, and shoulder widening and reconstruction of one kilometre of Horseshoe Bend Road.”

“The draft budget also enables Council to provide funding to realise the Surf Coast Aquatic and Health Centre. Council had already resolved to contribute $5.25m in the event that a funding application to State Government was successful, and it was. The draft budget includes this commitment, and a further $500,000 should Council resolve to complete the project funding puzzle.”

The proposed site for the $39.25 million centre is next to the new Wurdi Baierr Stadium in Torquay North. The funding complements the $20 million committed by the Australian Government and $13.5 million from the Victorian Government.

Comprising an indoor 50-metre pool, multipurpose warm water pool, gym/group fitness rooms as well as allied health suites and community meeting rooms, the proposed centre will cater for all ages and abilities.

Mayor Stapleton said the draft budget also included funding to progress business reform programs.

“Council is investing in programs aimed at improving business efficiency and making it easier for people to access Council services, such as an online portal for customers and a business case for solar energy savings at Council sites”.

“Previous business reform projects resulted in a further $170,000 of ongoing savings in the Draft Budget Report 2021-22, contributing to a total of $7.9 million in savings since 2015.”

“The budget includes a proposed rate increase of 1.5 percent – aligning with the rate cap set by the Victorian Government. The annual increase in rate revenue is essential for Council’s future viability, and ability to support the community to meet its aspirations now and into the future,” she said.

The waste charges will also increase by 1.4 percent to enable many of the environmental reforms to be funded.

To view the Draft Budget Report 2021-22 go to www.surfcoast.vic.gov.au/Budget (will be available online from the morning of 28 April) or call 5261 0600 to arrange a hard copy.

Anyone can make a submission to the Draft Budget Report 2021-22 and Draft Revenue and Rating Plan via the website or by mailing: Acting CEO, Anne Howard, Surf Coast Shire Council, PO Box 350, Torquay, VIC 3228. Submissions must be received by 10am on Wednesday 26 May 2021.

Key projects in the Draft Budget 2021-22 Report

  • Anglesea Landfill stage 3E works – $1,010,000

  • Surf Coast Aquatic and Health Centre – $1,000,000 (plus $4,750,000 borrowings)

  • Barwon Park Road shoulder widening and reconstruction – $962,500

  • Anglesea Netball pavilion redevelopment (subject to successful grant) – $676,120

  • Bell Street, Torquay pavement rehabilitation (Surf Coast Hwy to The Esplanade) – $432,000

  • Solar and energy savings at Council sites business case – $375,054

  • Environmental Leadership Program- $250,000

  • Council Carbon Neutrality Program – $185,267

  • Sealed Road Renewal – Reservoir Road (Cape Otway Rd to Ervins Rd) – $150,000

  • Torquay waste drop off operations trial – $140,966

  • Pennyroyal Valley Road resheeting and drainage works – $132,000

  • Stribling Reserve reconstruction of netball court – $124,000

  • Facility improvements annual implementation plan (Disability Discrimination Act) – $100,000

  • Wensleydale Station Road (Casboults to Holloways Road) unsealed shoulder renewal – $77,000

  • Former Winchelsea Shire Hall modifications – $72,500

  • Heritage Study stage 3 Winchelsea district – $44,000

  • Anglesea Arts Space works – $40,000

  • Lorne Men’s Shed drainage upgrade – $ 28,293

  • Aireys Inlet Top Shops drainage works – $ 27,500

  • Public art allocation – $25,000

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