Yarra City Council is preparing to endorse the final draft of its new Financial Sustainability Strategy at its December meeting, making it the first council in Victoria to create a strategy of this kind. 

The release of the final draft follows four weeks of community engagement and feedback. 

The final draft of the strategy will be presented to Council for endorsement on 12 December and the document will be made available for the public to read later in the week. 

Yarra City Council said that, like all councils in Victoria, it is facing challenges to its financial sustainability from rising cost pressures, rate capping and cost-shifting, along with increasing pressure and demand on its services and infrastructure from a rapidly growing population.

Council said that it was proud to have provided additional financial support to its community through the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery. However, the financial impact of this, compounded with legacy debt, means it has limited reserves left to meet the growing needs of the Yarra community.

Financial sustainability means consistently having sufficient reserves available to meet unforeseen or emergency expenses, without relying on borrowing or compromising essential services.

Yarra currently has a Long-Term Financial Plan which helps inform Council planning and predicts the funding it will need to fulfil the needs of its community, along with where it is expected to be financially in the next ten years.

The Financial Sustainability Strategy looks at those predicted numbers and identifies strategic ways to address them, so that Council is in an improved financial position and can deliver for its community both now and into the future.

It sets out strategic reforms to ensure that future investment decisions are based on need, underpinned by evidence, and guided by informed strategies. It also includes practical and achievable actions and outcomes.

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