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Southbank shunned in council budget

14 May 2013

By Sean Rogasch

Southbank has been almost entirely ignored in this month’s City of Melbourne draft budget.

While the council budget boasts $96.2 million in capital works and suburbs Docklands ($11.1 million) and Carlton ($7 million) reap the benefits, Southbank was left out in the cold.

We will share in some of the $2.55 million to strengthen the cycling network and, inevitably some of the $14 million to support Melbourne’s arts will be spent here, but apart from this, the cupboard is decidedly bare.

There is one mention of the desire to develop a City Rd master plan but, at this stage, no money has been allocated for its implementation.

In some good news, funding will continue for the popular First Friday Dance Club at Queensbridge Square.

One of the major news stories to come out of the budget was the increase in costs for on-street parking. While CBD parking is set to increase more dramatically, Southbank isn’t immune to the price rise, with parking prices increasing by 80 cents an hour in half, one and two-hour spots. It increased 50 cents per hour in three-hour parks and 40 cents per hour in four-hour spaces.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said he knew the increased parking costs were not going to be popular, but were a necessity because of a fall in revenue from parking fines.

“We have so few revenue levers that this is something we just needed to do. It’s our intention to do it just once throughout our four-year term,” Cr Doyle said.

“A budget that includes rate rises and increases to parking fees is a difficult one to deliver, but this draft budget maintains all our current services and is essential to achieve council’s long-term vision for a sustainable, vibrant and prosperous Melbourne,” he added.

On the budget as a whole Cr Doyle stressed that the council was being fiscally responsible and pointed out its $77 million cash reserves, juxtaposing it with many cities and state or federal governments around the world which are currently in debt.

“A growing city demands not only responsible financial management but investment in projects that contribute to the essence of what makes Melbourne a great place to live, work and visit,” Cr Doyle said.

“This budget safe guards our city’s growth. We’ve reinvested where we need to reinvest.”

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