Community budget priorities revealed

An aerial shot of the Ballarat CBD with a two-lane road in the middle with buildings on either side.

An aerial shot of the Ballarat CBD.

Road maintenance, the improvement of cycleways and footpaths, and increasing investment in climate change have emerged as top priorities for the community in the 2024/25 Annual Budget consultation. 

The consultation occurred throughout October last year. It followed the announcement that the City of Ballarat was changing its budget engagement processes in which there would be a singular round of consultation ahead of the 2024/25 budget development process instead of the previous two rounds of consultation — one prior to the development of the budget and one following its development.  

The comprehensive, earlier engagement period was designed to improve upon past engagement processes to ensure Council is better informed of residents’ priorities within the context of the Council Plan 2021-2025 prior to beginning the development of the annual budget.

The new budget engagement process will also allow Council officers to present the budget to Councillors at the May Council Meeting — a month earlier than previous years.  

The October consultation resulted in improved levels of engagement, with the following themes also emerging out of the engagement process:  

  • Improved waste management and recycling
  • Increasing investment in recreation and sporting facilities
  • Improved town planning / reducing urban sprawl
  • Increased investment in Council buildings 

Council officers are now using the information gathered through the consultation process, along with a review of the City of Ballarat’s 2023/24 year to date financial performance, to develop the 2024/25 Annual Budget.  

The financial performance review ensures the City of Ballarat’s financial position is consistent with the objectives set out in the 2023/24 budget and long-term financial sustainability objectives.  

Updated budget forecasts for the 2023/24 financial year will be presented to Council at the 28 February Council Meeting.  

The budget will be reviewed and workshopped by Councillors during March and April and is scheduled to be considered for adoption at the May Council meeting. 

City of Ballarat Chief Executive Officer Evan King said the City of Ballarat was actively seeking to improve consultation processes to ensure residents’ priorities are reflected in decision-making and in strategic documents, such as the Annual Budget.  

“I’d like to thank all community members that contributed to the budget consultation,” he said.  

“In order to prepare a balanced budget, we need to ensure it can fund the core services and strategic objectives contained in the Council Plan, along with any additional initiatives.

“This will require Council to consider such variables as borrowings, cost efficiencies and the level of revenue we are able to raise, given the Minister for Local Government has set the rate cap for the 2024/25 financial year at 2.75 percent.”  

For more information about the budget consultation process, visit the Annual Budget MySay page. For more information about the preparation of the Annual Budget, visit the Budget page on the City of Ballarat website