Creating a greener, safer and smarter city is the focus of City of Darwin’s draft 2023/24 Municipal Plan and budget, released today.
Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis said City of Darwin would have an operating expenditure of $139.28 million in the next financial year, supporting the continued implementation of the 2030 vision for Darwin: City for People. City of Colour.
“Community feedback tells us a cool, green and clean city is a key priority, which is why we will be investing $1 million into our greening program in 2023/24,” Mr Vatskalis said.
“Our capital works program of $19.02 million will further assist the business community and help stimulate the Darwin economy,” he said.
Overall highlights of the draft 2023/24 budget include:
- $27.8M waste management operations & investment
- $19.02M total Capital Works Program
- $9.4M maintaining our parks
- $4.3M libraries
- $3.5M ICT investment for improved service delivery
- $3.3M tree planting and maintenance
- $1.9M sport and recreation investment
- $1.7M animal management program
- $1.56M funding community events and activities
- $1.46M arts and culture
- $952K creating a safer Darwin
- $500K Better Suburbs projects
- $275K Reconciliation Action Plan implementation.
Mr Vatskalis said City of Darwin would maintain its focus on celebrating and enriching the city’s unique culture and lifestyle.
“We are committing $1.56 million to community events, including the Darwin Festival, Seabreeze Festival, Australia Day celebrations, and the annual Bombing of Darwin commemoration,” Mr Vatskalis said.
“This funding also includes our Christmas in Darwin program, with a key highlight being the Christmas in Darwin Pageant, which will again be delivered along with the Northern Territory Government,” he said.
Mr Vatskalis said while City of Darwin had limited powers regarding law and order and anti-social behaviour, he believed it was important to continue working with the NT Government to improve community safety outcomes.
“This year’s $925,000 for our Creating a Safer Darwin initiative will mean increased public places patrols on weekends,” Mr Vatskalis said.
“We will also be spending a further $800,000 on street and public lighting which will also help enhance public safety,” he said.
The biggest single area of expenditure again this year is waste management operations and investment, which will receive a $27.8 million funding injection. This provides for delivery of waste collection services and ongoing work at the Shoal Bay Waste Management Facility to manage environmental risk and help maximise the lifespan of the facility.
Some $180,000 will also go towards a cardboard compactor to increase recycling rates.
Capital expenditure projections for the coming five financial years are also outlined in the draft 2023/24 Municipal Plan, including an $80 million commitment to major capital works.
This includes the new $26.7 million Casuarina Aquatic and Leisure Centre, which will see City of Darwin deliver 2500 square metres of public pool space to the northern suburbs by the end of 2024.
Mr Vatskalis said pulling together a budget in the current economic climate was challenging and required some tough decisions.
“In the face of a seven per cent CPI increase, City of Darwin has managed to keep the increase in the general rate for 2023/24 to just 5 per cent,” Mr Vatskalis said.
“This equates to an increase of only $1.72 a week for the average residential property, with the annual figure coming in at an increase of $89.65 without waste charges.
“With the increased costs in kerbside waste collection, the combined the annual increase year on year for the average household is $111.48, which equates to an extra $2.14 a week.
“Our elected members and City of Darwin staff have spent months shaping this year’s budget and we now look forward to delivering on our plan, which we think is responsive, responsible and relevant,” he said.
The community is encouraged to provide feedback on City of Darwin’s draft 2023/24 Municipal Plan.
To read a copy of the draft plan and have your say, go to engage.darwin.nt.gov.au or visit the Customer Service desk at the Civic Centre.