RECORD investment in infrastructure and services underpins the City of Melbourne's draft 2017-18 Annual Plan and Budget, led by a $29 million investment in the Queen Victoria Market renewal and $25.3 million for public open space projects.
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said the draft Annual Plan and Budget invests in key services and infrastructure needed for one of the nation's fastest growing cities.
"This is the first year of a four year budget and council plan that will deliver on our vision for our city's growth, sustainability, prosperity and liveability," the Lord Mayor said.
"Melbourne's economy is the envy of the nation. Our latest data from the Census of Land Use and Employment (CLUE) shows that our economy has grown by 42 per cent in 10 years and is now worth $92.1 billion.
"Melbourne is the nation's economic powerhouse. We have helped create more jobs than any other capital city. Growth in jobs over the last decade has increased by 26 per cent."
The Lord Mayor said that total budget expenditure on capital works, programs and services in 2017-18 is the largest expenditure in Council history, at $557 million.
"We will spend $29 million on the Queen Victoria Market precinct, as we move from planning into project delivery of the world's largest current market renewal," the Lord Mayor said.
"The investment will help us create safer, more efficient and sustainable facilities for traders to make the day-to-day running of their small businesses easier and more viable. We will improve access to power across the market precinct and progress the construction of proposed below-ground storage, dedicated delivery areas, cool rooms, waste management and recycling facilities."
"The budget also highlights our commitment to keeping the market trading right throughout the renewal program, with funding allocated to the construction of the temporary new market pavilion. The greenhouse inspired pavilion will house traders who need to temporarily move during the renewal program and will provide many exciting reasons for people to shop at the market while works are underway."
The draft budget includes a $17.4 million investment in major streetscape improvements including the redevelopment of the southern end of Elizabeth Street, pedestrian safety around Spencer Street, improvements to Racecourse Road, and to Queensberry, Cardigan, and Pelham Streets in Carlton.
"We will transform the southern end of Elizabeth Street with a $1.5 million investment including the closure of the southbound traffic lane, removal of curbing and channelling, and construction of new paving, lighting, street trees and drainage works," the Lord Mayor said.
The budget also includes $25.3 million on public open space projects, including an $11 million down payment to allow works to begin on a $35 million open space project in the city's most densely populated suburb, Southbank. The transformation of Southbank Boulevard and Dodds Street will include 1.2 kilometres of bike lanes, a new playground, public art opportunities, significant planting and improved access and activation of Melbourne's arts and cultural precinct. A further investment of $2.9 million will be used on 41 public realm improvement projects in Southbank.
The City of Melbourne will also install more than 360 smart litter bins in the CBD following a successful trial of 14 bins last year. The new bins hold seven times the waste of a standard litter bin and will help to reduce garbage truck movements in busy CBD areas.
Major investments are also being made in early education and care, with $3.7 million invested in upgrading the Lady Huntingfield Child Care Centre and Hotham Hub in North Melbourne. The total investment of $8.6 million will deliver a 106 place integrated family and children's centre. The budget also includes an investment of $3 million towards the development of an integrated family and children's service incorporating the Central Carlton Children's Centre into the Carlton Primary School.
The Budget also includes:
- $60.3 million on programs and services for youth, aged, children, families, people with disabilities, sport and recreation and city safety initiatives;
- $64 million on business and economic development, city planning, city promotion, tourism and events;
- $16.3 million in arts and culture programs to strengthen the city's reputation as Australia's arts capital; and
- $170.3 million on maintaining a first public realm: transforming streets, boulevards and laneways, keeping the city clean and creating an integrated network of bike paths.
Chair of the Finance and Governance portfolio Deputy Lord Mayor Arron Wood said the 2017-18 draft Budget sets out the first tranche of the Council Plan 2017-21, which captures Council's aims over the next four years.
"Council has set out a very clear vision for what we want to achieve over the next four years. Despite the record investment in infrastructure, we will not increase the financial burden on residents and businesses," the Deputy Lord Mayor said.
More information is available from the City of Melbourne website at <http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/about-council/vision-goals/Pages/annual-plan-budget.aspx>.