City of Darwin’s first post pandemic budget is headlined by a $60.5 million capital program.
In a budget framed against a backdrop of increased inflationary pressures, a tight skilled labour market, and highly competitive construction demand, City of Darwin is still targeting a range of ambitious projects. These include the $25 million Casuarina Aquatic and Leisure Centre and a further $18 million for on-going improvements at the Shoal Bay Waste Management Facility.
Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis described the 2022-23 City of Darwin budget as prudent and sustainable.
“During the two years of the pandemic City of Darwin stepped up and did its part to stimulate the Darwin economy, including last year’s record capital spend along with initiatives like the Green Army and the highly-popular myDarwin vouchers,” Mr Vatskalis said.
“We had a zero-rate increase in 2020-21 in the first year of the pandemic and then a minimal 2.5 per cent rates rise last year.
“But we have now entered a different economic period affected by rising construction costs and a nation-wide shortage of skilled labour. Consequently, we have honed our budgetary position to fit with the new set of economic realities.
“This has meant putting some capital projects on hold. And we have been forced to increase rates by 4.5 per cent on average.
Average residential and commercial properties will see an increase of $1.50 a week this year and the kerbside waste collection fee will increase by 29 cents, making for a total increase of $1.79 a week, or $93 a year.
“Our estimated operating expenditure, including depreciation, for the 22-23 financial year will be $133 million, which is an increase of $10.3 million on the previous year. And our total expenses, excluding depreciation, will be $99.6 million which is up from $90.6 last year,” Mr Vatskalis said.
“The March year-on-year Territory CPI increase was 5.9 percent compared with the national capital city average of 3.9 per cent, so we have to contend with a level of inflation that hasn’t been part of the economic landscape for some time.
“Darwin is looking better than ever before, and Council’s services and facilities are comparable, or better, than any Australian city of a similar size. We want to improve on that by maintaining key assets like our parks and green spaces while continuing with our Greening of Darwin and Better Suburbs programs.
“The prudent and responsible approach we have adopted in Budget 22-23, means City of Darwin can continue to deliver a high level of services to our community.”
Contact: Fred McCue (M) 0466 207 090