Infrastructure investment and support programs to drive the region’s
economic and social recovery from the COVID-19 emergency are at the centre of
the City of Greater Geelong’s Proposed Budget 2020-21.
The Council has tonight
resolved to release its Proposed Budget for public feedback.
A core focus is a $161.2
million capital works program, which will provide a critical boost to local
investment, strengthen local employment and provide essential facilities and
services that our community relies on.
The Proposed Budget retains our
commitment to the four-year Council Plan, while committing significant funding
towards initiatives that will help the region rebound from the global
coronavirus crisis and supporting jobs and flow-on economic activity by
maintaining momentum on projects that will play a critical recovery role in the
The capital works program also aims
to provide fair and equitable access to places, spaces and services where they
are most needed.
This targeted investment is
complemented by our initial $4.9 million COVID-19 support package and a $4
million community grants program that will provide further direct assistance to
those in need.
The aim of presenting a
break-even budget in 2020-21 was modified following facility closures and the
implementation of support packages and other relief initiatives to support the community,
business, sporting and arts sectors.
The Proposed Budget now
forecasts a recurrent deficit of $8 million, with the modified financial
position allowing us to increase our capacity to assist those in need.
While Council had an option to
delay its release of the Proposed Budget, City leaders were committed to providing
certainty about forward investment in service and infrastructure programs.
To underpin this level of
investment and recovery and relief efforts, the Proposed Budget includes an
average residential rate rise of 1.9 per cent.
This is under the Victorian
Government’s rates cap of 2 per cent.
The rating system has also been
made fairer by the removal of the flat municipal charge on all properties.
The Council has created a
significant financial hardship policy which provides residents experiencing
financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic the ability to access waivers
on fees, charges and interest on all debts and/or put their rates payments on
Anyone wishing to discuss their
options is invited to email [email protected]
or call 5272 5272.
The Proposed Budget can be
viewed online at www.yoursay.geelongaustralia.com.au and a hard copy is available upon request.
Submissions are invited and
will be received until Tuesday 26 May.
Mayor Stephanie Asher
This budget demonstrates the
Council’s commitment to directing investment toward the programs and services
which will help our region to recover in the aftermath of this global emergency
and reaffirms that our biggest priority is our community’s long-term health and
assisting those in need.
A key focus is also on
maintaining our commitment to a significant capital works program as this will
be crucial in helping to keep people employed, allow services and activities to
best return to normal and improve access to essential services for our
Our budget deliberations were
well advanced before the COVID-19 restrictions were introduced, which has
allowed us to stick to the original schedule and present this Proposed Budget now. The Proposed Budget provides a
considered baseline which we can update as the full extent of the impacts of
the pandemic become clearer. As recommended by the state
government, we are forecasting a deficit which reflects our immediate and
medium-term response to the impact of the virus. This aligns with the approach
taken by both federal and state governments.
We expect to identify other
areas where we can provide stimulus and relief for those affected, to sit
alongside our first two community support packages. I encourage you to view the
Proposed Budget and look forward to receiving and considering your feedback.
Cr Anthony Aitken, Chair,
None of us anticipated the
unexpected challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed on us - our Council
budget included. We are proposing a deficit
budget during this unparalleled time because people look to their governments
to provide leadership, support and stability.
The proposed 2020-2021 Council budget
is fair and financially sustainable; it is mindful of those who need assistance
and focuses on recovery measures to support our economy in Geelong when other
businesses cannot. It maintains a long-held view
in Australia that when you can contribute you do, and when you need help it is
Council is encouraging all
residents and businesses who can contribute to pay their rates. They can be
assured they will be playing a key role in supporting the Geelong community as
their funds will allow us to deliver essential services for everyone and invest
in the projects that will aid the region’s recovery.