MELBOURNE City Council last week unanimously endorsed its 10 Year Financial Plan and accompanying draft Asset Management Strategy, which Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said would help deliver the council's vision for the city's growth, prosperity and liveability.
"Melbourne is Australia's fastest growing city, with daily users of the city expected to increase by 23 per cent by 2024. We need to be agile enough to make the most of the opportunities this growth will bring. We will need to do things smarter and more efficiently," the Lord Mayor said.
"This plan will secure our competitive advantage as a top global city: as a premier location for business and knowledge sectors to expand and thrive; it increases our expenditure on core services and creates opportunities for our community."
The 10-year Asset Management Strategy was developed to assess and monitor existing council assets, ensuring they perform at their peak while also planning for future city assets.
"The City of Melbourne is a multi-billion dollar business. Council's net worth is forecast to increase significantly from $3.8 billion to $5.8 billion by 2025," Cr Doyle said.
Underlying surpluses will be a feature every year throughout the 10-year plan to fund this important infrastructure, including the Queen Victoria Market Renewal Project."
As part of the process of developing the plan, the City of Melbourne engaged a People's Panel of 43 demographically-selected residents and business owners to have their say on spending and revenue priorities for the next decade.
Stephen Mayne, Chair of the Finance and Governance portfolio, said the 10 Year Financial Plan had taken on board the vast majority of recommendations made by the citizen's jury.
"We spent time with the Panel over six sessions in August and September last year to provide them with a solid understanding of Council operations, challenges and needs. We encouraged them to think broadly about what they wanted Melbourne to look like by 2025," Cr Mayne said.
"They took into consideration that a changing climate, technological advances, a growing city economy and an evolving demographic will alter the needs of our city and provide new ways of doing business."
"The Panel came back to us with 11 key recommendations and I'm proud that our plan aligns with the majority of these from planning for more public open space to continuing to deliver a high standard of events and of course the redevelopment of the Queen Victoria Market."
Council has initially chosen not to meet the recommendation to increase rates by CPI plus up to 2.5 per cent for the next 10 years because of State Government plans to introduce a rates capping policy for all Victorian councils.
Also last week, council adopted its 2015-16 Budget, confirming a $538.5 million record investment in programs, services and infrastructure, and a long-term commitment to the redevelopment of Queen Victoria Market.