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Council adopts responsible budget
Date of Issue: 
June 28, 2023
  • Responsible approach to delivering the services and programs communities expect
  • Capital works program that invests in our communities’ futures
  • User-pays system for some waste services to offset significant cost increases

East Gippsland Shire Council has adopted its 2023/24 Budget, which Mayor Cr Mark Reeves describes as responsible, equitable and in the best long-term interests of East Gippsland.

“Our Budget, adopted last night, is a responsible approach to ensure that Council has the necessary resources to deliver the works, services and initiatives our communities expect, and as outlined in the Council Plan 2021-25,” Cr Reeves said.

“It has been carefully designed to meet the rate cap and has a substantial capital works program that is stimulating our economy now and will support our communities for generations to come,” Cr Reeves said.

Rate cap met

In line with the rate cap set by the Victorian Government, the Budget levies an average rates and municipal charge increase of 3.5%. Individual rate increases are determined by land valuations, which are not set by Council. Based on valuations there is an average increase of 4.12% for residential properties, 2.42% for commercial/industrial properties, and 0.22% for farms.

“We are committed to supporting property owners through initiatives such as a rate rebate of $62.47 for people who get a pension rebate. Additionally, the rate waiver for properties hit by the 2019-20 bushfires, where the main dwelling was destroyed or deemed uninhabitable, continues,” Cr Reeves said.

“We understand that rate payments can be a challenge for some people and are committed to assisting every ratepayer in managing their payments. There have been changes to the monthly instalment payment option and I encourage anyone who would like to discuss the many other options to please reach out to Council.”


User-pays green waste fee

A green waste disposal fee of $12 per cubic metre will help offset significant processing costs.

“During our community consultation for the draft Budget, most feedback we received focused on the green waste fee. Councillors thoughtfully reviewed all feedback, and while we value the input, after careful consideration no amendments were made,” Cr Reeves said

“We believe that it is fair for users of the green waste service provided at Council's waste facilities to contribute to the cost. It will help offset the$700,000 processing cost by an expected $540,000.”

The fee will be introduced from September 2023.

All ratepayers will have access to a free green waste period in November to assist people preparing their properties for the fire season, as well as a green waste coupon which covers the disposal cost of 1.5 cubic metres of green waste."

The waste levy will rise from $37 to $51 on all rateable properties. This adjustment is necessary due to the Victorian Government's landfill levy imposed on Council and other compliance cost increases,” Cr Reeves said.

Free recycling services will continue to be available at landfills and transfer stations. The cost of disposing of mattresses is again significantly discounted.

“These services reflect our commitment to supporting recycling and the circular economy,” Cr Reeves said.


Capital works support communities

“We are investing $55 million into our communities – and that is in addition to projects that are already underway. All up, we are putting $119.2m worth of capital works back into our shire. This highlights the commitment Council has made to renewal and developing our region over several years,” Cr Reeves said.

“This investment is supported by $54.2m in state and federal government grants, showcasing the advocacy of Council and collaborative efforts between Council and funding sources.”

The coming year will see the delivery of new and upgraded facilities, particularly those linked to recovery from the Black Summer bushfires. Projects include streetscaping, road renewal and upgrades, footpaths, parking and transport improvements, as well as recreation and sporting spaces.

"These projects not only support our economy during the construction phases but also have long-term economic impacts, attracting visitors and bolstering local businesses," Cr Reeves said.


Responsible budget

Chief Executive Officer Anthony Basford encouraged the community to read the budget document alongside the Council Plan, 10-Year Financial Plan and Four-Year Revenue and Rating Plan.

“These documents provide a comprehensive overview of the works, services and projects Council delivers in a financially sustainable manner for every East Gippslander.”

Budget highlights include

  • Road and bridge maintenance works ($31.07m)
  • Community facilities and open space maintenance works ($8.6m)
  • Maintenance of buildings and facilities ($5.7m)
  • Community support programs ($2.3m)
  • Economic Development and Tourism programs and projects ($3.4m), including the continuation of the Business Boost Program to support entrepreneurs and new business.
  • Recreation and arts facilities and programs ($6.5m)
  • Strategic Planning works and projects ($1.1m), including support for key strategic planning initiatives including the Housing and Settlement Strategy and Bairnsdale Growth Strategy, and resources to deliver the Lakes Entrance Northern Growth Area including the associated infrastructure design.
  • Commitment for ongoing work to support recovery following the 2019/20 Black Summer Bushfires with support of the Victorian Government.
  • Road renewal and upgrades ($18.38m)
  • Bullock Island Masterplan implementation ($2.07m)
  • WORLD Sporting Precinct - Stage 1 ($11.01m)
  • Bullock Island Bridge and associated works ($1.5m)
  • Omeo Mountain Bike Trails ($5.97m)
  • Krautungalung Walk – Stage 1 ($1.88m)
  • Slip Road Maritime Precinct ($6m)
  • Eagle Point Foreshore Hub ($2.5m)
  • Bairnsdale Resource Centre upgrade ($800,000)
  • Jones Bay Southern Catchment - Water Sensitive Urban Design ($2.03m)
  • Orbost Forest Park upgrade ($1.59m)
  • Jemmy's Point (Kalimna) Stage 2 ($1.76m)
  • Streetscape upgrades in Bruthen, Buchan, Mallacoota and Omeo ($3.43m)
  • Lakes Entrance foreshore and streetscape works ($1.72m)
  • AJ Freeman Reserve (Paynesville) Female-Friendly Changerooms ($1.57m)
  • Cann River Off-Street Parking ($1.2m)
  • Bairnsdale City Oval Changerooms upgrade ($1.43m)
  • Livingstone Park Omeo ($1.51m)
  • Bairnsdale Aerodrome runway extension and lighting ($5.26m)
  • Bairnsdale Aerodrome rehabilitation of taxiway etc. ($2.23m)
  • Renewal and upgrades of information technology systems ($6.06m)
  • Marine Parade Lakes Entrance upgrade ($2.22m)
  • Moroney Street, Bairnsdale upgrade ($1.83m)
  • Bridge renewals ($3.43m)
  • Swifts Creek Recreation Reserve upgrade ($1.1m)
  • Buchan Recreation Reserve upgrade ($1.93m)

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