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New budget to drive growth

Thursday 29 April 2021
With a new financial year approaching, we’ve prepared a Draft Budget designed and built to power a major economic and social recovery in Albury, following the costly effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Our ongoing recovery will be driven by a budgetary package that will create jobs and investment, enhance our tourism sector, foster business growth and provide a range of facilities and services designed to improve the health and lifestyle of our community.

Aligned closely without our blueprint for the city’s future, Albury 2030, the budget proposes capital works expenditure of $63M, which will include $11.8M for roads, bridges and footpaths; $10.3M for recreation projects; $21.8M on important water and wastewater projects; and $6.5M to improve public buildings across the city.

Mindful that many in our city are still feeling the financial effects of COVID-19, we’ve proposed an average rate rise of 2.3% per cent for residential households and 1.8% for businesses. Importantly, there are no increases to water and sewer charges while waste management charges will return to pre-COVID levels.

When all rates, water, sewer and waste management charges are combined, the average residential property impact is an increase of $1.37 per week.

This modest increase will help to fuel a finely targeted spending program that will deliver a range of works to improve our city, including funding support from government grants. Some of the major improvements will include:

  • $3.9M for the next stages of the Riverside Precinct construction
  • $2.6M to deliver the Albury Regional Skate Park for our young people
  • $3.5M to rehabilitate our roads and drains
  • $1.7M to improve public toilet facilities across the city
  • $800,000 for stage 3 of the Lavington Sports Ground redevelopment, and
  • $500,000 for the ongoing expansion of the Wagirra Trail

The draft budget includes a $500,000 COVID-19 relief package which includes provision of $150,000 for residential ratepayers suffering hardship as a result of COVID-19, $100,000 for a visitAlburyWodonga destination marketing activation program; nil fees per chair for outdoor dining, street vending and A-frame advertising; $50,000 for the waiving of lease and licensing fees for community and sporting groups; and zero interest applied to overdue rates from 1 July to 31 December 2021.

We’re also focusing strongly on delivering health, lifestyle and safety benefits, with funding for bike paths and cycleways, major improvements to sports grounds, and CCTV cameras in the Lavington CBD.

Our Draft Budget has an eye firmly on the future, with major expenditure proposed for our growth area of Thurgoona-Wirlinga. Projects there will include a new play space for families at Ernest Grant Park, design works for the Thurgoona Link Roads and the Thurgoona Oval change room upgrade.

We’re also pushing ahead with cultural and environmental works such as design works for the new Wonga Wetlands Education and Experience Centre, the next stages of design for the proposed Albury Entertainment Centre Convention Wing redevelopment and infrastructure developments to further improve our award-winning Resource Recovery Centre.

Of course, roadworks and transport improvements will continue to form a key part of the budget, with road redevelopments at Lavington and East Albury among the major projects to be delivered over the financial year.

This is a Draft Budget carefully calibrated to underpin economic and recreational growth in a post-COVID environment.

We’re grateful to our Councillors and the wider community for helping to identify the key priorities for improvement across the city so that we can use your rates contribution to deliver the city that you want for the future.

Importantly, as we work towards finalising the Draft Budget to deliver these projects, we’d like to hear from you. Please provide us with feedback about the proposed budget so we can work together to improve Albury towards 2030 and beyond.

Alternatively, you’re invited to attend public forums on the following dates:

  • Tuesday 4 May, 5.30pm - AlburyCity Offices, Robert Brown Room Ground Floor, 553 Kiewa Street, Albury
  • Thursday 13 May, 11am - Mirambeena Community Centre, 19 Martha Mews, Lavington
  • Tuesday 18 May, 5.30pm - AlburyCity Offices, Robert Brown Room, Ground Floor, 553 Kiewa Street, Albury

Budget preparation is always a collaborative process with the hopes and aspirations of the community a key driver in determining our shared priorities – so, once again, thank you to everyone who has helped to shape this document and we look forward to hearing from you as our Councillors and community-focused team work to deliver a bright future for Albury.