Community recovery at the heart of council’s 2021-22 budget

Published on 03 July 2021

Tree debris being stockpiled as storm clean-up continues.

Yarra Ranges Council has endorsed its Draft Budget 2021-22, which will provide funding to support communities including essential services, infrastructure and pandemic and storm recovery.

At their 29 June meeting, Councillors voted to endorse the 2021-22 to 2024-25 Budget, 10 Year Capital Expenditure Program and 2021-25 Revenue and Rating Plan, following community engagement over the last month.

The budget provides $4m for libraries, $2m for pools and aquatic facilities, $6.5m for services for older adults and people with a disability, $4m for Maternal and Child Health nursing and $6.7m for maintenance and renewal of existing public buildings.

Yarra Ranges Mayor, Fiona McAllister said the budget would provide funding for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and ongoing storm recovery.

“The focus on recovery is at the heart of this budget,” Cr McAllister said.

“I’d previously been quoted in the media saying we’d had a hell of a year – and the hell of a year got harder. The storms that took place on 9 June knocked us for a six. For many of us, we got off lightly, but parts of our municipality will take many years to recover.

“The cost of recovery is huge, and the budget we have developed has been very well thought-through. Having come off a hell of a year, we suddenly have a huge amount of recovery expense, recovery that we need to fund to support our communities, in the way that you have to be - and should be - supported.

“The $4 million we’ve set aside for COVID recovery suddenly seems insubstantial and the many millions we will need to fund storm recovery has become very front-of-mind.”

The draft budget includes $4 million specifically for COVID-19 pandemic recovery initiatives, including $1 million for Community Recovery Committees across the Yarra Ranges, where community members will be empowered to make decisions about recovery projects in their area.

Cr McAllister acknowledged that while the budget’s rate increase of 1.5 per cent across the municipality was not ideal, it would enable Council to continue funding essential community services and local recovery initiatives.

“For me, this is one of the most difficult decisions we make as a Council,” she said.

“It isn’t easy to increase rates, but we do it knowing that we will support our community to recover and rebuild, and we will use our budget wisely to do that.

“We will continue to focus on outcomes for the community in every dollar we spend.

“In this budget is mental health first aid training for community groups, it’s got business support measures and the community recovery, led by Community Recovery Committees, along with funding for roads, services and local infrastructure.”

“Finding ways to spend less community money and doing things better is something I truly believe in.”

Capital works highlights from this year’s draft budget include new footpaths and maintenance works across the region, drainage works in Upwey and Belgrave to prevent flooding, township improvement projects in Healesville, Belgrave and Lilydale and playspace renewals.

Community members were able to make submissions on the budget documents and speak to them at a public meeting on Tuesday, 15 June.

Submissions varied from comments about the rate increase, about advocating to reduce homelessness in the region, completing the Lilydale Structure Plan and specific local projects.

Submissions on the Council Action Plan and Budget 2021-25 can be read from page 250 of the 29 June Council Agenda.

Council’s Long-term Financial Plan will be released to the community for comment in coming months.

Anyone in the community needing assistance with paying their rates can contact Council on 1300 368 333 or visit

Budget highlights

Across Yarra Ranges

  • Road re-sealing and re-surfacing across Yarra Ranges - $5.5m
  • Installation of solar power at community facilities - $250k
  • Council building minor works and renewals - $1.98m
  • Bridge improvement works - $220k
  • Aquatic facility renewal works - $1m
  • Public toilet renewal works - $104k
  • Design and construction of a biomass facility to produce bio char and renewable energy - $600k (additional funding in future years) (includes $500k State Government funding)

Hills region

  • Belgrave - Community Library Redevelopment - $600k (additional funding in later years) (includes $100k State Government, $100k Eastern Regional Libraries funding)
  • Belgrave – Construction of a netball court with lighting at Belgrave Recreation Reserve - $300k (additional funding in future years) (Federal Government funding)
  • Belgrave - Drainage works on Waratah Avenue, Park Drive and Arbor Avenue - $249k (additional funding in later years) (includes Federal Government funding)
  • Belgrave – Belgrave Lake Park playspace improvements and master plan works - $26k
  • Belgrave – Footpath works on Blair Road, between Best Street and Benson Street - $50k
  • Belgrave - Township Improvements – including pedestrian networks - $140k
  • Belgrave Heights – Zig Zag Road, water sensitive drainage solutions to address flooding and erosion - $20k (additional funding in future years)
  • Dandenong Ranges - Ridgewalk, stage 1 construction of a 26km trail, with spaces for education, cultural expression and social gathering - $4.1m (additional funding in later years) (includes Federal Government and State Government funding)
  • Monbulk – Footpath works on Baynes Park Road from aquatic centre to Masches Hill Road - $100k
  • Menzies Creek – Footpath works on School Road - $137k
  • Monbulk - Urban Design framework – in conjunction with the Place Plan - $30k (additional funding in later years)
  • Monbulk – Recreation Reserve playspace renewal - $86k
  • Monbulk - Recreation Reserve Skate and Scooter Park upgrade, including lighting installation - $522k
  • Monbulk - Recreation Reserve Stormwater Harvesting System - $580k (includes $330k Melbourne Water funding)
  • Narre Warren East - Sports Field Lighting Renewal - $224k
  • Sassafras – Township improvements, including principle pedestrian networks - $209k
  • Selby – Footpath works on Greenwell Road, between Belgrave-Gembrook Road and Morley Street - $9k
  • Selby – Footpath works on Morley Street - $20k
  • Upwey - Tennis Court renewal – including new surface, lighting, fencing, drainage and infrastructure on five courts - $450k
  • Upwey South - Tennis Court renewal – including new surface, lighting, fencing, drainage and infrastructure on six courts - $540k
  • Upwey – Footpath works on Irvine Street, between Main Street and Mahony Street - $44k
  • Upwey – Skatepark Redevelopment - $300k (includes $150k State Government funding)
  • Upwey – Belmont Avenue kerb and channel works to fix flooding issues - $195k

Urban region

  • Chirnside Park - Footpath works on Landscape Drive - $165k
  • Chirnside Park - Green Spine Shared Path lighting - $355k (includes $152k Federal Government funding)
  • Chirnside Park, Old Melbourne Road, road pavement rehabilitation - $500k (Federal Government funding)
  • Chirnside Park - Chirnside Urban Park design and construction of playspace - $154k (additional funding in later years)
  • Chirnside Park -Black Springs Road, road pavement rehabilitation works - $441k (Federal Government funding)
  • Chirnside Park - Kimberley Reserve Community Sports Pavilion - $920k (additional funding in future years) (includes State Government and Federal Government funding)
  • Kilsyth - Pinks Reserve, Stormwater Harvesting System - $192k (includes 100k Melbourne Water funding)
  • Kilsyth – Footpath works on Walnut Drive – connecting existing path to Montrose Road - $100k
  • Kilsyth - Elizabeth Bridge Reserve, Ground Upgrade – upgrading infrastructure for sport and social recreation, plus temporary changing facilities - $638k
  • Kilsyth - Pinks Reserve Community Sports Pavilion construction - $1.86m (additional funding in future years) (includes State Government funding)
  • Kilsyth – Pinks Reserve stadium improvements, including additional basketball court, improved amenities and wall insulation - $1.5m (additional funding in future years) (including State Government funding)
  • Lilydale - Melba Avenue, road pavement rehabilitation - $358k (Roads to Recovery funding)
  • Lilydale - Yarra Ranges Regional Museum foyer redevelopment - $71k
  • Lilydale - Footpath works for accessibility at The Gateway and at Wandana Reserve in Mooroolbark - $60k
  • Lilydale - Footpath works, Melba Ave, between Hutchinson Street and Jarlo Drive - $20k
  • Lilydale Precinct Masterplan – in conjunction with the place plan for Lilydale - $100k (additional funding in later years) (Includes State Government funding)
  • Lilydale - Town revitalisation works - $500k (state gov funded)
  • Lilydale - Carmen Reserve playspace renewal - $25k (additional funding in later years)
  • Lilydale - Civic Centre Redevelopment, final stage works - $3.67m
  • Mooroolbark - Luke Polkinghorne Reserve playspace renewal - $405k (Includes $215k State Government funding)
  • Mooroolbark – Mooroolbark Heights Reserve playspace renewal - $256k
  • Mount Evelyn - Bailey Road playspace renewal - $247k
  • Mount Evelyn - Community Sports Pavilion construction - $1.91m (additional funding in future years) (includes Federal Government, State Government and Sporting Club contributions)
  • Mount Evelyn - Morrisons Reserve, Sports Complex Fence Upgrade - $70k (Federal Government funding)
  • Mount Evelyn - Morrisons Reserve, shelters and synthetic turf – two additional shelters and synthetic turf to preserve track - $200k (includes Federal Government funding)
  • Mount Evelyn - Recreation Reserve Number 2 Sportsfield Lighting Renewal - $153k

Valley region

  • East Warburton - Cement Creek Road Bridge Rehabilitation and Upgrade - $1.33m (includes $635k Federal Government and $700k Roads to Recovery funding)
  • Healesville - township improvements on Green Street to construct pavement, crossings, disability compliant parking, garden beds and drainage - $386k
  • Healesville - Don Road Recreation Reserve, Number 2 Sports Field Lighting Renewal - $260k
  • Healesville - Lilydale Road, improvements, including pedestrian facilities, drainage, amenity and parking facilities - $1.15m (additional funding in later years) (Federal Government and Roads to Recovery funding)
  • Healesville – Maroondah Parade, drainage improvements to address flooding and erosion - $52k (additional funding in future years)
  • Healesville - Smith Street, road widening to accommodate on-street parking, kerb and channel, associated drainage and new footpath - $1m (Federal Government funding)
  • Healesville - Staging improvements at The Memo to provide overhead lighting bar - $90k
  • Millgrove - Community Sports Pavilion - $918k ($430k Federal Government funding)
  • Reefton - Upper Yarra Reservoir Park playspace - $518k (includes $285k State Government funding)
  • Seville – Britton Road, creation of an easement to improve drainage - $41k (additional funding in future years)
  • Seville - Recreation Reserve Oval One Ground Reconstruction - $1.68m ($900k Federal Government)
  • Seville - Footpath works on Warburton Service Road - $110k
  • Seville East - Glenvalley Reserve playspace renewal - $25k (additional funding in later years)
  • Wandin North - Wandin East Road – road pavement rehabilitation - $688k (Roads to Recovery funding)
  • Wandin North – Carpark works at the Recreation Reserve - $200k
  • Wandin North – Footpath works connecting Wandin North Primary School to Victoria Road - $172k
  • Warburton Urban Design Framework – developing in conjunction with the place plan - $30k (additional funding in later years)
  • Warburton - Woods Point Road – road upgrades to provide turning lane and better drainage, improving safety at Warburton Water World - $700k (includes $400k Federal Government, $300k State Government fnding)
  • Warburton - Mountain Bike Destination, development of more than 100km of trails in the hills surrounding Warburton - $4.3m (additional funding in later years) (Includes Federal and State Government funding)
  • Warburton – Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail improvements across length of trail - $45k
  • Yarra Junction - Bike storage near the Yarra Centre - $15k
  • Yarra Junction - Footpath works on Milners Road - $90k
  • Yarra Junction - Footpath works on Yarra Street, stage 1 - $35k (additional funding in later years)
  • Yarra Valley Trail – MacIntyre Lane crossing - $400k (Roads to Recovery funding)
  • Yering and Yarra Glen - Yarra Valley Trail, continued Stage 1 construction, connecting Lilydale, Coldstream and Yering to Yarra Glen - $2.9m (Includes Federal Government funding)