Cardinia Shire Council adopts Budget and Council Plan
At this week’s Ordinary Council Meeting, Cardinia Shire Council adopted the Budget and Council Plan for the 2017–18 financial year.
The adopted budget meets the lower rate environment of 2 per cent and delivers more than $44 million of capital works to the community. This has been achieved by continuing to focus on organisational efficiencies that have kept Council’s operational and employee cost among the lowest in the state, and a concerted effort to manage debt in recent years.
Continued efficiencies in contract management and other sources of expenditure have generated savings in excess of $5 million over the past five years, placing Council in a very strong position to respond to the challenges of rising community expectations and a lower rating environment.
Council acknowledges the Victorian Government for the introduction of the Growing Suburbs Fund, which has allocated Cardinia Shire $9.59 million over recent years, without which significant capital works programs already approved as part of the previous five-year financial plan could not have been funded.
The 2017–18 budget has many highlights, including:
An ongoing focus on community infrastructure. The Capital Works program of $44.86 million is the largest in Cardinia’s history, and is part of a $160 million investment in community infrastructure over the next five years. To help maintain our existing assets, more than $80 million of this will be directed to the renewal and upgrade of existing assets throughout the shire, including:
- $19.94 million on our roads
- $3.86 million investment in building upgrades across the shire, including disability access works, and
- $2.55 million to ensure our playing surfaces continue to meet the needs of our community.
New programs and facilities
As one of the fastest growing shires in Australia, Cardinia must continue to provide new community infrastructure to meet the needs of this growing community. Some of the significant programs over this five-year capital program include:
Deep Creek Recreation Reserve ($9.52 million)
Deep Creek Recreation Reserve will be a place of environmental, social and recreational significance within the shire. The precinct will provide employment and education opportunities, and incorporate a community facility that is a showcase of best environmental sustainable design practice. The project will also include a regional all-abilities playground, new paths and car park, an indigenous plant nursery, sensory garden, wetlands and an informal kick-about area. Activities focused around the environment will allow for all community members of all ages to meet, play and learn within the parkland.
Other significant projects in the five-year capital works program include:
- Redevelopment of Cardinia Cultural Centre ($9 Million)
- Lang Lang Community and Recreation Precinct ($8.55 million)
- Emerald–Gembrook Trail ($2.2 million)
- Construction of the Bunyip soccer facility ($1.95 million)
- Cora Lyn Reserve pavilion design and construction ($1 million)
- Gembrook pavilion upgrade ($1 million)
- Completion of Emerald netball pavilion and courts ($525,000)
- New playground and recreational facilities ($320,000)
- New and refurbished footpaths ($5.55 million)
More than $2.7 million has also been allocated for the Community Grants Program over the next five years, for Council to work in partnership with groups within the shire to deliver initiatives that benefit our community.
Cardinia Shire Council will continue to deliver a wide range of programs and projects to protect and enhance our natural environment, including:
Aspirational Energy Transition Plan
Council has set the aspirational target of achieving zero net emissions for its operations and a 36 per cent reduction in community emissions on a per capita basis by 2024. Making these changes will not only benefit the environment, they will also provide a significant financial benefit by saving Council and community on energy costs.
Some major actions include:
- environmental upgrades of Council facilities and assets to improve energy efficiency including Cardinia Life, Cardinia Culture Centre, Pakenham Library and Hall, Koo Wee Rup Pool, Beaconsfield Community Complex, and decorative street lighting throughout the shire
- installation of solar electricity systems for Council facilities and the purchase of grid-supplied green power
- incorporation of sustainable design assessment into the planning approval process, to improve the design of new developments in the shire
- initiatives to support solar electricity systems for the community
- community indigenous plant giveaways.
Social and community focus
Cardinia Shire Council is committed to working in partnership with a range of community organisations and government agencies to deliver a variety of innovative approaches to support our community, including:
- continued implementation of family violence projects in the shire at a local, regional and state level including the Together We Can initiative, Family Violence Regional Strategy and White Ribbon Accreditation
- ongoing area partnerships to ensure that children and young people in vulnerable situations are kept safe and that strategies are developed for young people disengaged from education, training and work are developed
- supporting neighbourhood houses and U3As to deliver a range of training opportunities at a local level through annual funding and advice on community needs and identified gaps.
Council’s employee costs and operating budget continue to be among the lowest in the state.
It is important to note that the ability of Council to continue to meet the needs and rising expectations of the community can be challenged by influences outside of Council’s control, including cost-shifting from various other levels of government to local government (such as library services, maternal and child health services, community-based social services, and infrastructure maintenance costs that Council incurs on assets that it does not own).
Council is pleased to deliver a financially responsibly 2017–18 budget that meets the changing needs and demands of our growing community, and reflects the changing environment that local government is operating in.
Council’s focus on debt management and delivering operational efficiency gains over the last five years has positioned us well to meet the challenges of our growing population.
Along with the new Council Plan, Cardinia Shire Council has also adopted the Strategic Resource Plan for the 2017–18 financial year.
Since the election in October last year Council has been developing a new Council Plan for the four-year term of this Council, with the aim to make Cardinia Shire the best possible place to live, work, raise a family and do business.
The plan articulates Council’s vision for Cardinia Shire to be developed in a planned manner, to enable present and future generations to live healthy and productive lives, and to enjoy the richness of the diverse and distinctive characteristics of the shire.
The Council Plan includes the strategic objectives of the Council and outlines the strategies for achieving these objectives over the next four years.