Yarra delivers a community focused, sustainable and climate safe draft Budget

Yarra City Council has worked hard to develop a draft Budget that continues to invest in the local community and deliver key essential services, while also responding to the climate emergency.

Yarra’s pools, gyms, and Council facilities will transition away from gas and towards being powered entirely by renewable electricity.

The draft Budget 2021-2022 also provides funding to plant 1300 new trees, install new bike hoops and new bike lanes across Yarra, as well as planning for a food and organic bin collection.

Despite the significant financial impact of the pandemic, Yarra Council has prepared a draft Budget that continues to build a fairer and more equal Yarra, that creates opportunities and tackles the climate emergency.

It remains committed to delivering key essential services to our community, optimising service delivery and customer experience and maximising use of existing assets.

Yarra City Council Mayor Cr Gabrielle de Vietri said she was confident Yarra could lead the way in supporting the community post-COVID and in tackling the climate emergency at a local level.

“The past year has shown how important our local communities are. Throughout the pandemic we’ve worked together to keep each other safe, supported, and informed. That’s why we want to invest more in what makes our neighbourhoods great,” Mayor de Vietri said.

“With rising inequality and the climate emergency continuing to worsen, this draft Budget is our chance to ensure Yarra is a liveable place for everyone.”

“2020 reminded us just how important it is to have green open space right across our thriving city. Over the next year, we’ll create new parks and improve existing open spaces all over Yarra.

“As we bounce back from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, we’ll work hard to help local businesses get back on their feet.”

“I am thrilled to share our vision for a cleaner, fairer community.”

This year’s draft Budget was developed following broad community consultation held between November 2020 and January 2021. During this time, we heard from more than 1300 people about their aspirations and priorities for the future. These insights will help inform Yarra’s 15-year Community Vision and the draft Budget 2021/22.

“The draft Budget has a strong focus on sustainability, both in terms of our fiscal responsibilities and the types of infrastructure we are delivering. It delivers on Yarra’s key strategic priorities and ensures that Council has a stable financial position in the years ahead,”

Mayor de Vietri said Yarra’s financial position had been impacted significantly by COVID-19 and that had been an important consideration in the delivery of this year’s draft Budget.

“Like all councils, and all tiers of Government for that matter, the development of this year’s draft Budget has presented many challenges due to the financial losses experienced as a direct result of the pandemic.

“We invested heavily in the local community throughout the pandemic by providing a package of community and business support totalling more than $7.5 million. I am pleased to say that, despite the deficit this created in 2020/21, we are continuing our commitment to the community, through a draft Budget that supports our most vulnerable residents, boosts our local businesses and addresses climate change.”

“Taking those challenges into account I am incredibly proud to be delivering a draft Budget of this calibre.”

“It responds to the extraordinary circumstances of last year, highlights the resilience we have all shown and acknowledges and strengthens community aspirations and strategic priorities for Yarra.

Some key highlights of this year’s draft Budget include:

  • New bike hoops and bike lanes as part of a new Transport Action Plan
  • Planning for a food and organics (FOGO) kerbside collection service
  • The first step of a new Community Hub at the Collingwood Town Hall Precinct, delivering essential services including a maternal and child health service
  • New toilets at Edinburgh Gardens
  • New and improved parks including two park extensions in Cremorne
  • 1300 new trees across the city
  • Continued support for businesses and vulnerable communities in the climate emergency
  • New pedestrian infrastructure across Yarra making getting to school safer and more accessible.
  • Transitioning our swimming pools off gas to 100% renewable electricity and improving the energy efficiency of our leisure centres
  • Fitness equipment and upgraded outdoor table tennis in Atherton Reserve
  • Capacity to continue delivering on important Council actions, such as integrated water management, urban agriculture strategy, nature strategy and our heritage aspects of Yarra, including Indigenous heritage.

The draft Budget includes a rate increase of 1.5 per cent, which is in line with the 2021-22 rate cap outlined under the Fair Go Rating System and will be accompanied by a 1.5% increase in our additional rate rebate for pensioners.

The draft Budget will be available on the Your Say Yarra site for your feedback from Friday, May 23 or you can attend one of our draft Budget information sessions listed below:

Wednesday 5 May
  • Bargoonga Nganjin meeting rooms 1 and 2
  • 5pm – 6:30pm
Thursday 13 May
  • Richmond Town Hall meetings room 1 and 2
  • 5pm – 6:30pm

You can also share your feedback directly with Councillors at the special council meeting to be held on Tuesday 7 June.

Find out how to register to speak at https://www.yarracity.vic.gov.au/about-us/council-and-committee-meetings/about-council-meetings

The draft Budget 2021-22 will be out for community feedback until Friday, 21 May.

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