Proposed 2021-22 budget supports community

Published on 21 April 2021

Budget 2021-22

Hobsons Bay City Council’s Proposed Annual Budget 2021-22 will deliver $2 million in COVID recovery programs and ongoing rate and financial hardship relief, $63.491 million in capital works projects, and funding for over 100 vital community services.

The Proposed Annual Budget 2021-22 is now open for community feedback and submissions until 23 May 2021, following adoption at last night’s Council Meeting.

The $63.491 million Capital Works Program invests in new infrastructure across Hobsons Bay and provides much needed jobs for our community and local suppliers.

Highlights include: $13.043 million for roads, $2.038 million for drains; $1.131 million for footpaths and cycle ways; $18.683 million for recreation and open space; and $24.675 million on buildings, such as sporting and recreational facilities ($20.35 million), civic and community facilities ($2.895 million), building renewal program ($530,000) and environmental sustainability initiatives ($900,000).

Major projects include the H.D. Graham Reserve sports facility ($5.2 million), JT Gray Reserve pavilion ($3 million) and Altona foreshore seawall and trail upgrade ($2 million).

The Proposed Annual Budget 2021-22 continues to support those community members most impacted by the COVID pandemic. The $2 million Community Support Package includes $1.35 million in targeted rate relief for those who need it most including rate relief ($740,000), interest-free rate deferrals ($450,000) and rate waivers ($160,000), which will be guided by Council’s Financial Hardship Policy.

The package also includes $650,000 of support to groups in our community that we know through recently targeted research are facing a higher level of challenge resulting from the pandemic: our creative industries, young people, and local businesses.  There will be $200,000 available to the community through the Make it Happen Hobsons Bay Recovery and Reconnection Grants program.

A Community Support Package Focus Group, representing a cross section of the community, will be instrumental in helping shape COVID recovery programs, ensuring that support reaches those who need it most.

Community consultation for the Proposed Annual Budget is an integral part of its development.  The consultation process began in November and December 2020 with Council’s ‘Pitch Your Idea’ program - inviting community members, local groups, and organisations to submit their ideas about projects and programs for Council’s consideration.

Successful Pitch Your Idea submissions include: upgrading Altona’s streetscape into safe ‘shared streets’; WJ Irwin Reserve playground upgrade; Henderson Park Reserve upgrade; resurfacing laneway at rear of shops in Mason Street; GJ Hosken Reserve outdoor gym; Borrack Square upgrade; Pavey Reserve and Leigh Hobbs playground upgrade (earmarked for a future budget); Cherry Lake Reserve upgrade (earmarked for a future budget); Leo Hoffman Reserve footpath connection or park redevelopment (earmarked for a future budget); Pipeline Reserve upgrade (earmarked for future budget); Kim Reserve floodlighting (earmarked for a future budget) and Alma Avenue bike safety park (earmarked for a future budget).

Environmental initiatives have also been supported such as the promotion of cloth nappies, along with initiatives that champion community wellbeing including a social support program for older residents and installing colourful imagery into Seabrook’s parks.

Additionally, a number of community submissions have been slightly modified and will be delivered through Council’s day to day operations, including a project that focuses on a love of reading across Hobsons Bay and a creative education program to enhance awareness of the impact of litter on the marine environment.

To keep delivering essential services, programs and infrastructure projects that benefit our community, the Proposed Annual Budget includes a 1.5 per cent rate increase, in line with the Victorian Government’s rate cap.

The 1.5 per cent rate increase is applied to the total amount collected from rateable properties across the city and is not applied equally to individual properties. This means that some ratepayers will pay less than 1.5 per cent and others will pay more, but overall, general rates won’t exceed the (reduced) rate cap. 

All properties are revalued each year by a state government appointed independent valuer with the revaluation process attempting to ensure rates are fairly redistributed across all properties in the city.

The Financial Hardship Policy, which was reviewed and updated last year, provides genuine and discreet support for residents and businesses affected by the pandemic. Residents, businesses and local sport and community organisations can apply online for financial relief at www.hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au/financialassistance 

The community can now have their say on the 2021-22 Proposed Annual Budget until 23 May 2021.

The Annual Budget 2021-22 is set to be presented for adoption on Tuesday 29 June. To view the proposed budget, make a submission or find out more about the Community Support Package Focus Group, visit participate.hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au/proposed-annual-budget-2021-22

Quotes attributable to Mayor of Hobsons Bay Cr Jonathon Marsden

“The Proposed Annual Budget 2021-22 continues to be a COVID response budget, providing targeted support and relief to our residents and businesses that need it most.

“It is a financially responsible budget which funds over 100 core community services to a high standard and a $63.491 million Capital Works Program which invests in significant infrastructure across our city, including destination playgrounds, upgraded community and sporting facilities and safer roads.

“We are investing strategically to bring money back into the community by supporting our traders, maintaining and improving our assets (both built and natural), and strategic projects which bring a return on investment, such as our Virtual Power initiative which aims to lower electricity costs for the community while reducing carbon emissions, in support of Council’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2030 for the entire City of Hobsons Bay.

“Council is also committed to supporting Hobsons Bay residents and businesses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. We know from evidence-based research that the people in Hobsons Bay most affected by COVID-19 are young people, our creative industries, and local businesses.

“The $2 million Community Support Package will provide tailored support to the groups most in need and it’s essential that the Community Support Package Focus Group is a true cross-section of the community who will actively help shape the development of the package and the financial rebate eligibility criteria and the size of the rebate. I’m looking forward to the community from all areas and from all walks of life taking part in the Community Support Package Focus Group to help develop a meaningful and responsive package. 

“We are at a critical point in COVID recovery where it’s essential to improve employment opportunities for young people, local artists and creative industries, and to work closely with local businesses to target activities in supporting the recovery effort.”