Green tick for new city budget

25 Jun 2019

City of Newcastle will invest $32 million in sustainable waste measures and deliver major infrastructure projects, improvements to cultural facilities and workforce development under a new budget adopted by Council tonight.

Delivering a $12 million surplus, the $297 million City budget features a strong focus on environmental outcomes via a $12.35 million organics recycling facility that will divert thousands of tonnes of waste from landfill and save ratepayers an estimated $5.5m in state levies over the next six years.

The 2019-20 budget also sees the City ‘balancing the books’ by not relying on reserve funds for any services or works projects, as adequate revenue is generated.

“The adoption of tonight’s budget formalises a sustainable financial blueprint for the next 12 months and beyond,” the Lord Mayor said.

“It offers significant investment in major sustainability projects, while still delivering essential projects and services that the community expects from local government.

“Forty per cent of our $81 million works budget is committed to environmental initiatives, including new waste facilities, improvements to recreational parks and continued coastal revitalisation.

“Our budget includes a $32 million investment in the expansion of the Summerhill Waste Management Centre, including the organics facility and a $6 million resource recovery centre which allow the City to generate new income from the sale of organic and other recycled materials.”

Other highlights of the newly adopted budget include:

  • $21.6 million investment in City parks and recreation,
  • $14.8 million on cultural facilities ($2.3 million on Newcastle Art Gallery, $2.3 million on Newcastle Museum, $8 million on Civic Theatre)
  • $13.8 million on road infrastructures projects; and
  • $10 million in library services and upgrades
  • $5 million towards replacing outdated fleet
  • $2.5 million on graduate apprentice and trainee recruitment.
  • $2 million on Smart City projects
  • $1.5 million towards improving development application processing

The Lord Mayor said the 2019-20 budget was a strong indicator of the City’s sound financial position.

“Financial sustainability is one of the foundations of good government and this budget will guide our revenue and expenditure balance over the next 12 months to help maintain our strong financial position,” Cr Nelmes said.

“The income and spending outlined in this budget will allow us to deliver the many essential services expected of the city as well as helping to deliver improvements to many areas of business.

“Delivering a surplus that equates to 3.9 per cent of our forecast income of $309 million ensures that we have the required financial flexibility to address unforeseen events, such as natural disasters.

Twenty-four submissions were made on 32 different matters in the draft 2019-20 Our Budget and draft 2019-20 Fees and Charges Register.