Community thanked for their involvement in shaping Greater Bendigo's proposed budget

Media release

The 2024/2025 Budget will be considered for adoption at the next Council meeting on Monday May 27, following extensive public engagement which took place last November and was reviewed by Councillors in 2024. 

Community members were invited to provide Budget priorities that supported the City of Greater Bendigo’s Community Vision and Council Plan Mir wimbul 2021-2025 and other key strategies, including the Climate Change and Environment Strategy 2021-2026 and Healthy Greater Bendigo 2021-2025.  

Each year, the City’s Budget makes day-to-day life in Greater Bendigo possible, funding 68 important services and the cost of managing infrastructure valued by the community.  

As part of the extensive online public engagement for the Budget, residents were invited to complete a short survey in the form of a ‘Budget funding tool’. The scenario asked people to allocate $100 across 14 core services that the City provides. 

Director Corporate Performance Jess Howard said the Budget engagement process saw a significant increase in community involvement. 

“We saw a threefold increase in the number of people engaging in the Budget consultation compared to last year and it was a good opportunity for us to see which City services residents valued the most,” Ms Howard said. 

“I would like to thank everyone who contributed on our online engagement platform Let’s Talk Greater Bendigo which has helped to shape the 2024/2025 proposed Budget.  

“Across the funding tool and comments received, investment in roads, bridges and drainage emerged as the number one community priority, followed by waste, recycling and resource recovery; parks, gardens, and open spaces; and footpaths, tracks, and trails. 

“Although Council spends significantly across these areas each year, the latest community feedback has been a helpful guide to prioritise spending public money, particularly as we continue to operate in a financially constrained environment.   

“The reality of operating under rate-capping with costs continuing to rise means there is less income available which is why community input early in the Budget development is so important. Difficult decisions throughout this Budget process have had to be made so we remain fiscally responsible for the community we serve. 

“These public insights have been collated and reviewed alongside other considerations, such as our funding commitments for 68 services, works and renewal planned in the next financial year and multi-year projects that have already started. It’s a good way for us to check in on what matters to you. 

“While Council is acutely aware of the financial pressure many households and businesses are under, the community relies on the many free and low-cost services we provide.” 

More than 60 per cent of the City’s income comes from rates with the balance coming from user fees and charges and government grants. The gap, created due to inflation being higher than rate cap increases over the past five years, is estimated to be $49M. This requires efficiencies to continue within operations to ensure low-cost services can be delivered in the community. 

It is important for residents to note that the Budget is not the only avenue for residents to raise priorities. Other channels are available to let Councillors and the City know about important matters or issues in the community. 

Residents can lodge customer requests at any time either online or by contacting our friendly Customer Service staff as these requests are sent to relevant units for consideration.

For the third year in a row, the City will be guided by the Local Government Act 2020 which no longer requires a draft Budget to be exhibited for 28 days. 

The proposed Budget will be presented at the next Council meeting for consideration on Monday May 27. The full proposed Budget is expected to be available to view on the Council agenda on the City website (at close of business on Wednesday May 22). 

Locations:
Greater Bendigo