Blacktown City Council has delivered its largest ever balanced budget to support its capital works program and a 20 year blueprint for sustainable development, following the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Council adopted a draft budget of $809 million for the 2022/23 financial year, including a major capital works program of $284 million for the people of Blacktown City.
This represents the largest-ever budget for Council and follows the $656 million budget delivered in 2021.
Blacktown City Council Mayor, Tony Bleasdale, said, “This budget ensures our Council delivers the projects which are the foundation for the modern Blacktown City that our residents and businesses need.
“It comes after another 12 months of disruption and staring down ever-present challenges, but shows that our commitment to delivering services for our community remains resolute.
“This budget will support our vital capital works program, including our transformational projects, to deliver now and for the future.
“The transformational projects are a source of much excitement in our City – the Warrick Lane precinct is filling with tenants, and the pad sites behind it are close to being ready to take to market.
“Two of our other transformational projects – the International Centre of Training Excellence and the Blacktown Animal Rehoming Centre – will both open in the next 12 months.
“In addition to our transformational projects, $115 million has been allocated for significant new works in the North West Growth Area, which consist of $90 million for land acquisitions and $29 million for roadworks, drainage, and open space.”
Mayor Bleasdale said that Council has also allocated $160 million in 2022/23 for the construction and maintenance of roads, footpaths and bridges.
“A further $108 million has been allocated for purchasing land in new release areas to deliver essential drainage and transport infrastructure,” Mayor Bleasdale said.
“$26 million is allocated to ensure our Kids’ Early Learning centres can provide the best local child care across one of the biggest childcare operations in New South Wales.
“Our libraries will receive $10.4 million this year to ensure our community has access to this vital service.
“Meanwhile, $23.5 million will go to our five Leisure Centres, the Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre, community centres and recreational facilities.
“This budget allocates an extra $46 million for the provision and maintenance of our parks, reserves, playgrounds and sporting fields.”
Blacktown City Council 2022/23 Budget key points:
Budget forecast spending for 2022/23 –- $809 million
$284 million allocated for major capital works, including:
$115 million for significant new works in the North West Growth Area consisting of:
- $90 million for land acquisitions
- $29 million for roadworks, drainage, and open space
- $160 million for the construction and maintenance of roads, footpaths and bridges
- $108 million for the purchase of land in new release areas to deliver essential drainage and transport infrastructure
Funding for core services consisting of:
- $26 million for the operation of Council’s Kids Early Learning centres
- $10.4 million for the operation of Council’s five libraries
- $23.5 million for Council’s five Leisure Centres, the Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre, community centres and recreational facilities
- $63.1 million for the operation and maintenance of waste collection and management services
- $46 million for procurement and maintenance of parks, reserves, playgrounds and sporting fields
Blacktown City Council Deputy Mayor, Brad Bunting, said, “This is a very important budget, at a very important time for the City of Blacktown.
“The past three years have been extraordinarily challenging for our City, and along with the rest of Sydney, New South Wales and Australia, we faced an unprecedented time which tested us greatly.
“However, Council worked hard to look after our residents, businesses and staff, while supporting our frontline workers and maintaining essential services.
“As we emerge from the worst of the pandemic, this budget will ensure we can pay the bills and give the people and businesses in our city the services they expect.
“While it underwrites a bright, modern future for our City, we face a reality of profound financial challenges.
“As our City continues to grow and our residents’ expectations continue to rise, we face the restriction of New South Wales Government rate pegging, and reductions in real terms to our grant funding from the government.
“Living within our means is becoming harder and harder, without cutting the services on which our community depends.
“Therefore, we will ask staff to investigate and report for Council’s consideration, a modest and equitable increase in our rate revenue, to ensure we can sustainably fund our services and the management of our assets into the future.”
In addition to the draft budget, Council presented a suite of important documents, including a draft Community Strategic Plan, Our Blacktown 2041 as well as the Delivery Program 2022–2026, Operational Plan 2022/23 and ten year Resourcing Strategy.
Mayor Bleasdale said, “Our Blacktown 2041 is the strategic plan which will guide our operations and will ensure that everything our Council does has purpose.
“The implementation of this plan will take us efficiently towards achieving our social, environmental, economic and civic objectives.
“We are committed to initiatives that will shape the future of the City and will work towards a City and Council which are resource efficient, climate resilient and that meet and exceed emissions targets and goals.
“As we carry out the first year of our new four year Delivery Program, we want to make Blacktown City a safe, modern and welcoming multicultural city for our residents and businesses, and a magnet for sustainable economic growth.”
The Blacktown City Council draft 2022/23 Operation Plan and budget documents, as well as Our Blacktown 2041, Delivery Program 2022–2026 and ten year Resourcing Strategy are available for public comment on Council’s website www.blacktown.nsw.gov.au from 11 May to 7 June 2022.