• Media release

Have your say on Port Phillip’s draft Budget 2023/24

Published 20 April 2023
Port Phillip Council’s draft Budget 2023/24 and Year 3 Council Plan are out for community consultation tomorrow.

Endorsed to be released for feedback last night, the draft Budget continues delivery of the comprehensive 10-year Council Plan.

This includes capital project investment of $65.3 million to maintain, grow and improve community assets as well as significant funding to provide the services our community wants and expects.

The draft Budget also contains targeted relief for those who need it most along with initiatives continuing to support Council’s sustainability, social and local economic priorities.

“Cost of living pressures across our City, from rising inflation to interest rates, has been front of mind this year. This is why we are proposing a rates increase of 2.8 per cent – lower than the Victorian Government’s rates cap and well under the expected 4.5 per cent inflation rate,” Mayor Heather Cunsolo said.

“While various options were considered, we believe a lower rate rise provides the best current, and ongoing financial relief, to our community. This is because whatever rate rise may follow in the future, it will be based off the lower 2.8 per cent figure,” she said.

The impact to the 23/24 draft Budget of adopting a lower rate rise is about $900,000. The accumulated impact over 10 years is $11 million less in rates collected.

“This is the first time we have proposed an increase below the rates cap, introduced in 2016/17. It will not be funded by service cuts. Instead, we will put less into our reserve fund as a buffer for known and unexpected challenges over the next decade,” Cr Cunsolo said.

Unexpected extra income from revenue streams, including parking and investments, helped put Council in a position to provide a balanced and responsible Budget.

Additional efficiency savings also contributed to the ability to continue to roll-out initiatives including the new Food Organics Garden Organics (FOGO) and glass recycling services. Permanent operational savings of $1.1 million are expected to be achieved in the 2023/24 Budget on top of $1 million in one-off project savings over 2022/23.

“We all want our beautiful City to be a place where everyone has the opportunity to thrive and enjoy all that Port Phillip offers, for now and years to come. While cost of living pressures are the immediate concern, we are still delivering on important key projects in this draft Budget and ensuring our 10-year forecast will provide for future generations.”

Cr Cunsolo urged community members to provide feedback on this important draft document.

There are several avenues to have your say, whether it’s at a Council Meeting to hear Budget submissions or via https://haveyoursay.portphillip.vic.gov.au during the community consultation from 21 April to 18 May.

Other key aspects of the draft Budget:

  • rolling out the new Multi-Unit Dwelling FOGO kerbside service and communal hubs for glass and FOGO

  • additional project investment over ten years including $25 million in provisional funding for the Elwood Foreshore Facilities Project (Stages 2 and 3), $17 million for South Melbourne Market Connect and an extra $9 million set aside in reserve for Fishermans Bend infrastructure
  • an extra $50,000 towards Early Education Grants (worth a total of $206,000) to support vulnerable families’ access to childcare

  • two years’ extension of the Launch Housing funding agreement ($110,000 per annum) for outreach services assisting rough sleepers and a one-off $40,000 allocation towards greater food relief in Port Phillip

  • existing business support under the Economic Recovery Package continuing until June 2025, including ongoing activation of public spaces

  • pensioner rates rebate increasing five per cent to $210 (Port Phillip is among only a handful of councils offering this rebate)

  • most fees and charges increasing 3.75 per cent – some will be higher to reflect reasonable user pays charges while others will stay the same or reduce to support those who most need it or to encourage further take-up. The 3.75 per cent rise is under the 4.5 per cent inflation forecast

  • funding to improve access for girls and women at sporting facilities including J L Murphy and Lagoon Reserve in line with our Fair Access Policy (under development)

  • continuing to invest in implementing our sustainability strategy, Act and Adapt, and taking action to address the Climate Emergency, including building our first Climate Emergency Plan, reducing the impact of our buildings and operations and supporting our community to take action, and identifying and delivering programs to minimise climate risk in Council operations and to the community. 

  • continuing our annual Greening Port Phillip Program and developing a new Urban Forest Strategy and Street Tree Planting Program in 2023/24

  • Public Space Strategy projects moving into construction in 2023/24 in its second year, including Moubray Street Community Park and Graham Street Overpass Skatepark

  • No debt, aside from some finance lease liabilities which remain as part of our financing strategy.