Community-focused: 2017-18 Draft Budget and Council Plan 2017-21

12 April 2017

A new $16.77 million capital works program with a planned 63 projects across the Surf Coast Shire underpins the 2017-18 Draft Budget, which sees Council continue to take a proactive lead on environmental and social issues.

The health and wellbeing of residents and visitors and Council’s commitment to protect its world-class natural environment are common threads in the Draft Budget. The budget features projects that will deliver infrastructure to support the community and meet its aspirations now and into the future.

Including projects that are already underway, Council plans to deliver a record $21.1 million of capital works, spread across each of the four wards.

Key projects in the budget:

  • Kurrambee Myaring Community Centre construction ($3.2 million)
  • Coogoorah Park Anglesea Playground renewal ($186,000)
  • Winchelsea netball pavilion upgrade  ($313,000)
  • Barwon River Winchelsea playground ($156,000)
  • Stribling Reserve change rooms design ($86,000)
  • Bike routes: Blackgate Road - South Beach Road ($725,500)
  • Bike routes south of South Beach Road ($77,000)
  • Winchelsea pathways ($120,000)
  • Footpath in Duncan Street, Lorne ($61,000)

The budget includes a rate increase of two per cent – aligning with the rate cap set by the Victorian Government – while it is proposed the waste service charge will increase by four per cent. The latter will help fund projects that will improve the management of waste and recycling, including landfill rehabilitation works.

Since being elected, Council has developed a draft Council Plan 2017-2021 which will determine priorities and guide decision-making for the next four years and beyond. Community input has laid the foundations for the Council Plan, with more than 900 people contributing to a survey. Targeted engagement activities for people under 25 and over 65 were also carried out.

Council has identified five key priority areas in the proposed plan, being Community Wellbeing, Balancing Growth, Environmental Leadership, Vibrant Economy and High Performing Council. The Plan also incorporates Council’s Health and Wellbeing Plan.

Draft versions of the Council Plan and budget will be exhibited at the same time and are available for comment between 12 April and 11 May. At the same time Council is also seeking feedback on the draft Road Management Plan.

Surf Coast Shire Council Mayor Brian McKiterick said the strong community engagement that contributed to the Council Plan also helped shape the budget.

“Council’s vision is ‘an engaged, innovative and sustainable community’ and our purpose is ‘to help our community and environment to thrive’,” Cr McKiterick said.

“The draft budget shows that we are ticking these boxes. It is measured and responsible, and sets a strong foundation for our future. It also demonstrates our commitment to understanding the needs of our community and meeting their short-term and long-term expectations.”

With the community at the core of the budget, ongoing funding has been allocated to the joint Council-community Towards Environmental Leadership program ($250,000) and to implement the Surf Coast Shire Road Safety Strategy ($61,000), which aligns with the Victorian Government’s goal of a Towards Zero road toll.

The road safety strategy is supported in the budget with improvements to rural roads including Cape Otway Road ($568,000), Forest/Grays Road ($560,000) and Hesse Street ($408,000) in the Winchelsea Ward; and Horseshoe Bend Road ($371,000) on the outskirts of Torquay. 

Cr McKiterick highlighted the importance of Council delivering its services efficiently and in ways that best suit the community.  An important initiative is to invest a further $2 million allocation under the Digital Transformation program, which includes delivering better financial outcomes and customer experience.

“We’re committed to improving how you deal with Council as an organisation – whether that’s having the ability to pay your animal registration on your phone, or logging onto an online portal to have your questions answered,” he said.

 The budget also features a $500,000 allocation to pursue projects that will save money long-term, such as the replacement of old street lights with energy efficient LED lamps. Additionally, Council is continuing its business improvement program that is reviewing the delivery of Council services.

There will be opportunities to discuss the draft budget and Council Plan in person with Councillors and officers. Times and venues will be advertised in local media and on Council’s website.

To make submissions on the Draft Budget or Council Plan:

Submissions close 4pm Thursday 11 May 2017.