Cr Samantha McIntosh

We’re proud to present the 2019/20 budget, the third of this Council’s four-year term.

This is a budget that provides for the needs of a growing city, while also maintaining our city’s assets and the more than 80 services we deliver to our community.

As in the previous two years, the budget is underpinned by the four goals we set out in our Council Plan 2017-2021: Liveability, Prosperity, Sustainability and Accountability.

Prudent financial management over the past two years has improved the City of Ballarat’s financial sustainability over the past two years, and this will continue into the future.

Pleasingly, this has enabled us to support several bold projects that respond to Ballarat’s present growth and prepare for that which is to come, while continuing to deliver on the services which our ratepayers expect.

Headlining the budget is a commitment of $15 million over three years towards the Bridge Mall/Bakery Hill precinct, including the Bridge Mall’s reopening, to return the precinct to a thriving city centre with a mix of shopping, business, living and entertainment options.

The budget includes $2 million towards the second stage of Civic Hall works, to provide for the installation of a commercial kitchen, additional power connections, stage lift and on-stage equipment. Together the investment will allow the venue to attract a greater diversity of events.

$3.5 million has been allocated to the installation of energy efficient LED street lighting over four years.

The Ballarat Central Library will receive $1.9 million over two years for upgrades including a new state of the art technology centre and the existing weighbridge’s removal to create new parking spaces.

This budget also makes provision for the basics. $59 million has been allocated to core capital works to cover upgrades to the city’s network of roads, drainage, bridges and footpaths and much more. An additional $500,000 has been budgeted for trees to deliver on council’s Urban Forest Strategy to achieve a 40 per cent tree canopy cover across the city by 2040.

We’ve also increased facilities maintenance by $1 million over the next two years.

This is a budget which has a view to the long term. From this budget onwards, 30 per cent of council’s rate revenue will be dedicated to core capital works.

It also provides for the continued delivery of the frontline community services we pride ourselves on – the upkeep of our many beautiful parks and gardens, exceptional festivals and events, active ageing, and vital family and children’s services, supporting the vision we have for Ballarat as a better place for all.

As a council, we are committed to preparing for future growth while at the same time ensuring the qualities that define us as a city, such as our significant heritage, are maintained for residents and future generations.

I’m confident this budget provides the means for us to strike that balance and continue to support the future prosperity of our city.

The 2019/20 draft budget is currently available for inspection. Submissions must be received at Ballarat Town Hall by 9am Monday 17 June 2019.

All written submissions and presentations will be presented at a Special Council Meeting to be held on Wednesday 19 June 2019 at 7pm in the Council Chamber, Ballarat Town Hall.