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Big ticket items, community ideas and everyday services delivered in this year’s Proposed 4-year Budget

12 Apr 2024

Delivering exciting new major facilities, funding a range of community ideas and maintaining valued everyday services are the focus of Merri-bek City Council’s Proposed 2024-28 Budget.

Endorsed by Council at its meeting on 10 April, the proposed budget features big ticket items including completing stage 1 of the $36.9 million Fawkner Leisure Centre revamp and the new $29.0 million Saxon Street Cultural and Community Hub.  

There is also $19.0 million for improving parks, open space and streetscapes, $17.6 million for renewing roads and carparks, and $3.4 million for delivering on footpaths, bike paths and transport infrastructure.

Merri-bek City Council Mayor, Adam Pulford, said the proposed 2024-28 Budget will provide quality community infrastructure and services to Merri-bek's growing diverse community.

“Our proposed budget delivers on Council’s commitment to building major community facilities while continuing to deliver our valued everyday services and responding to our community’s needs,” Cr Pulford said.

“I’m proud that we will be completing two major community facilities in the coming 2024-25 year, including the $36.9 million Fawkner Leisure Centre Redevelopment and the $29.0 million Saxon Street Cultural and Community Hub.”

“We’ll also be building new and upgrading existing infrastructure to help people get around our community safely and more easily, including footpaths, bike paths and roads.”

Also included in the proposed budget is over $22.2 million towards upgrades for several early-years facilities over the next 5 years, including Dunstan Reserve Childcare Centre and Brunswick Early Years Hub. This funding will ensure much-needed kindergarten places continue to be delivered to the Merri-bek community,  

Some of the other key highlights of the proposed budget in 2024-25 are:

  •  A capital works program of $83.1 million, to build new and improve existing community infrastructure and maintain community assets
  • Investing in environmental sustainability, including providing grants to support low-income households to install insulation and solar panels at home, as well as many other initiatives and programs
  • Continuing the $22.2 million upgrade works on several early years facilities over the next 5 years, including the Brunswick Early Years Hub
  • Improving our parks, open space and streetscapes ($19.0 million)
  • Roads and carparks renewal and maintenance ($17.6 million)
  • Footpaths, bicycle paths and transport infrastructure ($3.4 million)
  • Delivering the final year of the Council Plan 2021-25.

In November 2023 Council invited the community to suggest their ideas for the Community Budget Ideas initiative. This is the third year Council has run Community Budget Ideas and it has continued to grow in popularity amongst the community.

We have allocated $399,000 (higher than the $250,000 originally set aside) to 6 fantastic ideas suggested by community members, with more than 1,200 people voting for their favourites. This includes:

  • $150,000 to accelerate the installation of sunshades over Merri-bek’s playgrounds
  • $40,000 towards installing more seats on walking routes to shops
  • $60,000 towards installing drinking fountains in shopping strips
  • $59,000 towards Take the First Step Merri-bek (domestic violence prevention)
  • $60,000 for a half-court basketball ring in Glenroy
  • $30,000 free basketball court and soccer field in Fawkner

“Thank you to the community members who sent in projects and initiatives they want to see in our community, as well as to everybody who voted for their top priorities. I’m proud that Council has chosen to fund so many of these great ideas,” Cr Pulford said.

“We look forward to working with people to deliver these projects and services over the coming year and beyond.”

The proposed budget focuses on funding the delivery of services to Merri-bek’s 174,000-plus residents and Council’s ambitious goals – all within significant financial constraints. The proposed budget makes sure we deliver key outcomes for our community while maintaining Council’s financial sustainability.

Increases to waste collection costs and a reduction in State Government funding has had a flow-on effect to the standard kerbside waste charge, which will increase by about $0.52 per week.

Community members are invited to provide feedback by making submissions on the proposed budget, with consultation opening on 17 April and closing on 17 May. Details for this can be found at Conversations Merri-bek webpage.

For media enquiries, please or phone 0407 556 101