Building and maintaining community infrastructure, expanding kindergarten services, responding to climate change and supporting health and wellbeing will be key priorities for the coming year, with dedicated investment in Knox City Council’s proposed 2021-22 Budget.
Knox City Council Mayor, Cr Lisa Cooper said the budget focuses on delivering programs that are of high priority to Knox residents and businesses, and support a stronger city into the future.
“Our wellbeing, our families and our environment are all aspects of life that matter deeply to the Knox community,” said Cr Cooper.
“After a year that disrupted much of the way we work, live and play, this is a forward-looking budget that invests in growing and strengthening Knox while recognising the continued challenges many in our community still face.”
“We’re dedicating funding to support older and vulnerable members of our community, as well as responding to emerging health and social needs.”
Recognising the need for urgent and decisive action on climate change, the budget includes funding to implement the Climate Response Plan, including converting public lighting to energy-efficient LED lights and expanding Council’s electric vehicle fleet.
The budget also invests in key areas of health and wellbeing that have emerged as a result of the pandemic. These include a financial literacy program for women to support financial independence and prevention of family violence, as well as a Mental Health Action Plan to address challenges identified by the community such as depression and anxiety, social isolation, and substance abuse.
Public and community facilities play an important role in providing space for the community to gather and connect through shared interests, activities and cultures. Building and maintaining these facilities also provides a valuable opportunity to boost local construction and employment opportunities.
Investment in community facilities will increase to $125.98 million. Highlights of the capital works program include:
$36.4 million to improve parks, reserves and community facilities, including:
- $12.5 million towards new basketball courts and gymnasium at Knox Regional Sports Park;
- $8.5 million on Knox Regional Netball Centre;
- $3.2 million in playground upgrades and renewals;
- $9.8 million to renew ovals, tennis courts, cricket nets and other recreation facilities; and
- $1.1 million on lighting upgrades at Knox Park Athletics Centre, Kings Park, Lewis Park and Templeton Reserve
$15.4 million to improve and expand community buildings, including $4.8 million on Fairpark Reserve pavilion; and
$18.1 million on roads, footpaths, drainage and other civil infrastructure.
The budget proposes a 1.5% rate increase as Council aims to balance, the best it can, the financial pressures facing our community with the need for continued investment in community services, infrastructure and reinvigorating the local economy. This equates to an additional $18 a year or $1.50 a month for the average Knox household.
The proposed budget will now be opened for public comment until 5pm on May 26. Submissions can be made via Council’s website and commenters also have the opportunity to be heard at the public submissions hearing on June 7.