The City of Melbourne’s 2022-2023 draft Budget has been released and is now available for public consultation.

The draft Budget has plans for green parks, open spaces in the city, combating the impacts of climate change, and is working towards net zero emissions with renewable energy options and implementing a disaster emergency fund for the first time.

More than $26 million has been committed to protecting and maintaining the city’s parks and gardens, along with an additional $1.6 million to replace public toilets in Fitzroy Gardens and Carlton Gardens, and $2 million to improve the southern sports field in Fawkner Park.

The City of Melbourne will also spend $17.5 million in the next year to secure new open space across the city.

The primary focus will be on securing open space in the city’s most densely populated suburb – Southbank – with $25 million committed over the next four years.

An extra 2,000m² of open space will also be created in North Melbourne – the size of two Olympic sized swimming pools – as part of the $5 million Bedford Street Pocket Park project.

In partnership with the Victorian Government, the project will deliver new play and picnic facilities, 48 new trees and safer pedestrian crossings.

City of Melbourne Lord Mayor, Sally Capp, said the draft Budget recognises the important role the parks, gardens and open spaces play in making Melbourne more liveable and maintaining its status as Australia’s garden capital.

“Investing in a greener future for Melbourne will protect our environment, create clean jobs and futureproof our city for generations to come,” Mayor Capp said.

Council will continue to build on its commitment to combat climate change and move towards net zero emissions with a $650,000 investment in the landmark Power Melbourne project – creating a neighbourhood scale battery network to supply renewable energy to the community.

Work in the coming year will focus on engaging with the community, as well as designing and funding the first batteries in partnership with the private sector.

More than $1.2 million will also be spent on sustainability and gas-free initiatives at Council owned facilities, including the North Melbourne Town Hall and Carlton Baths. Work will focus on transitioning to renewable electricity to help slash emissions.

The City’s green canopy will be vital in efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change, with $1.8 million for the annual tree planting program to deliver 2,400 new trees across the municipality.

The program will focus on climate resilient species of trees, ensuring Melbourne’s green canopy can better survive drought and heat, and continue to cool the city.

Environment portfolio lead, Councillor Rohan Leppert, said the Budget will ensure the city remains green and vibrant for future generations.

“Melbourne’s urban forest, parks and gardens are some of our most valuable assets, and a key tool in our efforts to combat climate change. With our unique environment and biodiversity at risk, it has never been more important to invest in greening projects,” Cr Leppert said.

Significant work will be undertaken to improve stormwater harvesting across the municipality, collecting water from drains and roads to help irrigate and drought-proof the city’s parks and gardens.

For the first time, the City of Melbourne will also invest $200,000 to help better prepare for natural disasters including floods, pandemics and heatwaves, and fund new technology solutions.

Sustainable Building portfolio lead, Councillor Elizabeth Doidge, said Council is aware that cleaner energy and sustainable building reduces operating costs and makes city infrastructure more resilient in the face of climate change.

“By converting our own buildings to renewable energy, we’re creating a clear guide for businesses, government and industry to follow. The North Melbourne Town Hall and Carlton Baths transition is another big step forward to reduce emissions and achieve net zero,” Cr Doidge said.

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