Brimbank Council adopts Annual Budget with zero per cent rate increase

At a Council meeting on Tuesday 18 August, Brimbank Council adopted its Annual Budget 2020-2021. The Budget will support Council’s robust capital works program valued at $74.6 million, and deliver a zero per cent rate increase for the 2020-21 financial year. 

Council recognises the impacts the COVID-19 pandemic is having on our community, and is implementing a zero per cent increase to rates, which means not applying the annual 2 per cent increase to rates (in line with the Victorian Government’s 2 per cent rate cap).

The Budget was adopted following community feedback – and reflected community input as well as Council’s vision to support our community and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brimbank Mayor Cr Georgina Papafotiou said we understand the financial impacts brought on by the global pandemic, and by applying a rates freeze for the 2020-21 financial year we hope this will ease some of the financial pressures facing our residents and their families. 

‘The Budget is about being responsive and continuing to deliver a range of key services and programs that will support our diverse and resilient community and make Brimbank stronger.

‘The pandemic has presented us with unprecedented challenges, and this budget has enabled Council to refocus some of the priorities on supporting the community throughout the crisis.

‘Our priority has always been the health and wellbeing of our community, and delivering a budget that focuses on investing in ongoing capital works projects and upgrading facilities and open spaces, to ensure our residents enjoy the best possible quality of life.

The Budget invests in a number of capital works projects across Brimbank, including:

  • $36.4 million on sports facilities, including the commencement of the St Albans Leisure Centre Replacement Project
  • $22.8 million on roads, footpaths, drainage upgrades, pedestrian facilities and links
  • $3.7 million for the continuing upgrade of town centres, including upgrades to pavements, landscaping, street furniture and pedestrian links
  • $2.6 million for parks, playgrounds, and open space
  • $1.2 million on community facilities, with rolling upgrades to existing community and early learning facilities
  • $1.4 million on walking and cycling paths
  • $1.2 million investment in sustainability initiatives
  • $4 million on assets, including $800,000 for library books and $2.4 million for the cyclical replacement of plant and vehicle fleet

‘This is a financially responsible budget that delivers new priorities and support measures contained in Brimbank’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response and Recovery Strategy.

‘In light of current circumstances, we continue to provide rates relief through Council’s COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy, including new extended provisions for commercial properties and local businesses that apply for financial relief.

In addition to providing tailored payment plans with no interest charged on debt until 30 June 2021, under the Financial Hardship Policy and based on an approved application, a waiver of 15 per cent on the first three instalments of the 2020/21 municipal rates will be provided for business ratepayers (commercial and industrial developed) affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ratepayers will need to apply for the waiver and meet set criteria which includes: an annual business turnover of less than $10m for 2019/20; and must be eligible for the JobKeeper Program, or demonstrate a decrease in turnover of 30% or more.

‘A key feature of this Budget is our commitment to a range of programs and construction projects that will support our social and economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

‘This includes funding to deliver a new state-of-the-art health and wellbeing hub, on the site of the former St Albans Leisure Centre in Keilor Downs.

‘The new hub will provide vital infrastructure forming part of our recovery strategy and delivering a range of health, wellbeing, educational and social support services for our community.

‘We are pleased to be building a new facility that our entire community can look forward to enjoying for generations to come.

‘We have been listening and responding to community feedback and we would like to thank everyone who made submissions on the draft budget.

‘Council remains committed to ensuring that Brimbank is managed in a financially sustainable and responsible way. We are equally committed to continuing delivery of critical council services and infrastructure that will greatly benefit our community,’ Cr Papafotiou said.

In response to community input, Council is providing an allocation of $10,000 to all five community managed Neighbourhood Houses to assist support to the community during COVID-19 restrictions and recovery. A further $10,000 will be spent for scoping of a public art sculpture at H.V. McKay Memorial Gardens in Sunshine.

Council is required to conduct a revaluation of all rateable and non-rateable properties annually with the Valuer-General Victoria - being the sole valuation authority. The new valuation was completed by June 2020, with a valuation effective 1 January 2020. The final data shows that the values for all properties across Brimbank have increased by an average of 2.02 per cent.

More Information

Details of the Capital Works Program

The Budget includes a healthy capital works budget of $74.6 million with a number of key capital works to strengthen and enhance our city:

  • Sport facilities upgrades and enhancements ($36.4 million), including the commencement of the St Albans Leisure Centre Replacement Project, detailed design plan for a new sports ground and facilities at Green Gully Reserve Northern Precinct, sportsground reconstruction at Errington Reserve, St Albans, commencement of construction of new sports pavilions including More Park, Ardeer, and Bon Thomas Reserve, in Deer Park. As well as female sports facilities upgrades at Keilor Park Synthetics, and sportsground lighting upgrades at several locations
  • Road improvements, footpath replacement and repairs, drainage upgrades and kerb replacements ($22.8 million), including the Road Rehabilitation Program ($12 million), and the Footpath Rehabilitation Program ($2.5 million)
  • Town centre improvements ($3.7 million), including upgrades to pavements, landscaping, street furniture and pedestrian links. This includes $2.9 million for completion of the Hampshire Road Civic Green, and upgrade of three activity centres at Northumberland Road, Sunshine North, St Albans Road precinct, and Warwick Road Sunshine North.
  • Parks, playgrounds and open space ($2.6 million), including Suburban Park upgrades at Balmoral Reserve, Derrimut; Evergreen Reserve, Albanvale; Northumberland Road Reserve, Sunshine North. Neighbourhood Park upgrades at Robinson Court Reserve, Delahey; Highcombe Crescent Reserve, St Albans; and Waterfield Park, Cairnlea. Playground and skate park development in the Errington Reserve, St Albans, and a new off-leash dog park at Kevin Flint Memorial Reserve, Cairnlea
  • Sustainability projects ($1.2 million) in sustainability initiatives to reduce future costs
  • ($1.4 million) on walking and cycling paths, including a trail from Davitt Drive to Robinsons Road, and on-road cycling path linking Sunshine Trail at St Albans Road and Debenham Drive Pedestrian Crossing to St Albans Transmission Trail via Debenham Drive, St Albans
  • Asset improvements ($4 million) including $800,000 for library books, and $2.4 million for the cyclical replacement of plant and vehicle fleet
  • Improvements to community facilities including upgrades to existing community and early learning facilities ($1.2 million)
  • Traffic management ($1.5 million), including safety improvements at various locations across Brimbank
  • Drainage rehabilitation ($1.2 million)