Draft Budget 2018/19 released by City of Melbourne

THE City of Melbourne will deliver its biggest budget ever in 2018/19, with more than $576 million worth of community services, initiatives and capital works projects designed to help the city cope with an unprecedented population increase in coming years.

More than one million people including workers, visitors and residents are expected to be entering the city on a daily basis by 2022. That number is predicted to grow to 1.4 million by 2036.

Melbourne city skyline
Above: Melbourne city skyline / by Ant Le Breton.

Growing demand on resources and an ever changing city landscape are also driving the City of Melbourne's $161 million planned investment in infrastructure and maintenance works in the 2018/19 financial year.

Key 2018-19 draft budget highlights:

  • $576 million total budget spend;
  • $435 million on programs and initiatives;
  • Fully funded $141 million Council infrastructure works, additional $20 million for maintenance;
  • Proposed underlying surplus of $14.9 million;
  • Second year of Council's 2017-21 Council Plan;
  • 2.25 per cent increase in rates; and
  • $1.50 per hour parking fee increase in CBD.

The Budget includes a $22.7 million expansion of Southbank Boulevard and Dodds Street to create two new hectares of open public space, more than $7.1 million has been set aside for renewal of Melbourne's 480 hectares of parks and gardens and a further $2.1 million allocated for North Bank Open Space and Public realm projects.

"We're getting on with delivery of the Queen Victoria Market Precinct Renewal Program in accordance with Council's Implementation Framework, with $19.8 million set aside to work with the community on the design of the new 1.5 hectare public open space, undertake necessary onsite restoration of the heritage open air sheds and delivery of precinct wide projects to improve customer and trader amenity," the Council said in a statement.

"In addition, we're set to deliver more than $70 million worth of community infrastructure in partnership with PDG Corporation, developers of the Munro site. We'll spend $6.6 million to redevelop the Lady Huntingfield Child Care Centre into a 106 place integrated family and children's centre.

"We're spending $1.8 million to build on a world leading response to homelessness including $480,000 for youth homelessness (Frontyard), $438,000 for the Night Time Safe Space and $341,000 for grants including Youth Street Teams, rooming house project, legal project, women's homelessness project, and weekend meals program."

Improving the way pedestrians and motorists move throughout the city is also a major focus of this year's draft budget, with Council committing $5.5 million for road improvements and $4 million for better footpaths. High foot traffic areas will receive streetscape improvements including $2 million for the southern end of Elizabeth Street and $1 million for Southbank Promenade.

Cyclists are also winners with $1.1 million set aside for bike network improvements in Southbank Boulevard, Carlton, North Melbourne, Kensington and Southbank. The work also includes 500 additional bike storage hoops across the municipality.

A total of 39 new projects worth $35.1 million will be funded in this budget, including $2.7 million for Boyd Park, $4.1 million for University Square, $3.5 million for Lincoln Square masterplan and $2.2 million for public art in Southbank.

"We're investing $5 million to commence the redevelopment of a Council owned block between Bourke Street and Little Collins Street to provide new, sustainable retail and commercial tenancies in the heart of the city and renew Council accommodation that is well beyond its useful life for more than 1,400 City of Melbourne employees," the Council said.

"Three million dollars will also be set aside to fund critical rectification works on Town Hall and prepare a feasibility study for future restoration works. The feasibility study will look at the best options to restore the buildings to their former glory, and ensure they're equipped and well utilised by the public whilst preserving their cultural and social significance."

The draft budget also includes:

  • $36.4 million to promote the city including more than $17 million on major events including Moomba, New Year's Eve and Christmas;
  • $18.6 million to deliver maternal and child health services, immunisations, parenting services, youth and student services;
  • $16.3 million to support Melbourne's arts, including more than $753,000 on the Indigenous Arts Program;
  • $12.5 million to operate six libraries and community hubs;
  • $6.1 million on home and personal care, delivered meals, respite and community transport;
  • $5.5 million for the ongoing program of IT upgrades to provide customers with better online service; and
  • $5 million will go towards switching old street lights to energy efficient LEDs.

The City of Melbourne is also continuing to deliver more than $36 million of Victorian State Government funded permanent barriers at a total of nine key sites which include bollards and street furniture, and close on $10 million to expand the CCTV network and install a new Public Address System. This represents the largest investment in Australia for protective measures against hostile vehicles, in line with the State Government's and Council commitment to continue improving security in the Melbourne CBD. This will be added to this draft budget before it is finalised.

Members of the public can comment on the draft budget until 13 June 2018. A final version will be considered by Council on 26 June 2018. More information is available from the City of Melbourne website at <>.

Photo: Melbourne city skyline / Ant Le Breton / Licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC 2.0.

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