Port Phillip adopts “future proof” budget

Port Phillip adopts “future proof” budget

The City of Port Phillip has approved its final budget and year four council plan ahead of the 2024-25 financial year as it aims to reduce the burden of the cost-of-living crisis on its ratepayers.

Mayor Heather Cunsolo said the financial pressures currently gripping many locals was front of mind when developing what the council has described as a “balanced budget”.

“We are continuing to provide targeted relief for those who need it most as inflation and cost-of-living pressures, including interest rates, continue to cause many community members to do it tough,” Cr Cunsolo said.

She added that it was thanks to prudent financial management, including extra efficiency savings and no debt, that the council had established a strong foundation to “future proof” the city by investing in capital works and much-needed open space.

Despite several challenges, the average rate increase of 2.75 per cent for 2024-25 is within the rates cap and significantly below the forecast inflation rate over this timeframe.

“The dilemma for our council is that the costs of providing services and looking after infrastructure to the standards required by our community are growing much more than inflation and the Victorian Government’s rates cap,” Cr Cunsolo said.

The council said that increased government cost-shifting and construction costs also had to be factored in.

A major change includes higher differential rates for derelict, vacant land, and inactive retail properties to incentivise property owners and discourage neglect off the back of safety and amenity concerns.

Cr Cunsolo said that since the council foreshadowed the initiative, there had been an increase in activity in some sites which had been dormant for a decade.


“We want to see more vibrancy on our high streets and greater housing opportunities, so this is a great start,” she said.


While differential rates will apply from July 1, property and landowners can be exempt from paying them the following year if they have undertaken activities such as participating in a retail “pop-up”, improving a derelict property or progressed construction to the framing stage. An appeals process will be available.

Other measures include:

  • A 2.72 per cent rise in the default waste charge to $203.60 (below the rates cap), which follows rising waste costs being experienced by all councils.
  • Savings of $1.5 million for a total of $6.4 million in permanent savings to be delivered over this council’s four-year term.
  • Project investment of $114.3 million to maintain, grow and improve services and assets (including more than $44.9 million for land acquisition to provide more public open space).
  • Council-funded pensioner rates rebate increasing 4.8 per cent to $220 and an extra $40,000 for food relief.
  • Continuing business support offered under the Economic Recovery Package until June 2025.
  • Most fees and charges increasing 3.65 per cent, 0.25 per cent above forecast inflation. Some will be higher and some lower to reflect reasonable user pays charges. •
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