Port Phillip adopts its first integrated council plan

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By Becky Maschke 

Port Phillip Council adopted the city’s first ever integrated Council Plan at the Ordinary Meeting in June.

Councillors voted unanimously to approve the plan after seven months of preparation which also included extensive community engagement. 

The Council Plan 2017-27 incorporates a four-year strategic resource plan, a municipal health and wellbeing plan, a ten-year financial outlook, and the annual budget of 2017/18.  

Councils are required to produce or update these plans on an annual basis. Combining them into one strategic document is a first in the state of Victoria. 

Speaking at the Ordinary Meeting of Council on June 21, Deputy Mayor Cr Katherine Copsey called the plan “a ground-breaking document”. 

“It shows the budget along with the council plan so that it’s easy for community members to see what’s being spent were,” Cr Copsey. 

“The document is a good balance between the flexibility to adapt to what is a changing world whilst also ensuring that us as a council is accountable to implement the commitments and the actions that we’ve undertaken,” Cr Pearl said. 

The 263-page document identifies six strategic directions which all initiatives and proposed spending for the next decade are structured around. These pillars include support for a diverse community; improving public transport, traffic and parking; creating a sustainable city; providing clean and safe streets and amenities; fostering a culture of arts and creativity. The sixth direction focusses on transparent government and financial sustainability. 

In developing the six strategic directions, the council was guided by Port Phillip’s health profile as well as long-term challenges facing the city. Port Phillip’s is expected to grow by over 25,000 in the next decade which will “drive an increase in urban density” while “road congestion will continue to be an issue”. Other potential hazards are climate change and fluctuating economic conditions. 

Over the next ten years, operational expenses are projected to rise from over $191m to over $265m, an increase “large driven by inflation”. Capital works will increase from over $38m to over $51m 

Operational expenses, are set to rise by $5.6m to $219m in 2017/18. This is a 2.9 per cent increase compared to 2016/17. The budget 2017/18 will also fund the city’s largest ever capital program of over $42m. 

Over $19m are earmarked for three one-off payments: Victorian Pride Centre contributions of $10.5m; Ferrars Stprecinct works worth $5.3m; and $3.6m to relinquish a crown land property located at 62-74 Pickles Street, South Melbourne. 

In line with this year’s state government cap on rates, the average generate rate will increase by 2.0 per cent. Most fees and charges are set to rise by 2.5 per cent, with two notable exceptions: Long day care fees will increase by 3.73 per cent, from $120.50 per day to $125.00 per day, while parking fees will decrease on Waterfront place and in the Fitzroy Street precinct. 

Visitors to Waterfront Place can look forward to a significant drop in parking fees for 12 months from July 1st. From April to September, the price per hour will drop from $5.20 to $1.80 per hour with the maximum daily rate capped at $8.50 instead of $12.60. Between October and March, the hourly rate will decrease from $5.20 to $3.80. 

The Fitzroy St precinct is also set to benefit from a drop in parking fees. From July 1 to September 30 this year and from April 1t to June 30 2017, hourly rates will drop from $3.80 to $1.80 with day rates capped at $8.50. Between October and March, parking fees will remain at their current level of $3.80 per hour. 

Before calling fellow councillors to vote, Mayor of Port Phillip Bernadene Voss thanked the community for its participation in the process.  

“I wanted to thank our community and the 125 submitters for the terrific feedback which has helped shaped the plan. More than 2000 people participated in our engagement and have taken the time to share their vision, priorities and ideas with us,” Cr Voss said. 

 

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