Thursday, 10 May 2012
Melbourne’s reputation as a prosperous and progressive city will grow with millions of dollars proposed in the draft 2012-13 budget for initiatives that will help the city retain its competitive edge into the future.
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said prosperity and sustainability were inextricably linked in all successful cities of the 21st century and Melbourne was an acknowledged leader.
“Sustainability is no longer only relevant to the environment. It is radically changing the way we design cities, do business and live our lives. Sustainability is at the core of all thriving cities around the world,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Melbourne is renowned for its parks, gardens, open spaces and magnificent trees which have all suffered considerably over the last decade of drought. We have responded to the challenge by spending $180m on these assets to bring City of Melbourne to the cutting edge of stormwater harvesting.
“Four years ago, we were recycling 98 million litres of water annually. The projects we have implemented since mean we now recycle 282 million litres of water every year. This saves both water and money, with a reduction in costs of around $558,000 every year – an impressive outcome for the budget and the environment.”
Councillor Cathy Oke, responsible for the Eco-City portfolio, said this commitment would continue with exciting new projects planned for the next 12 months.
“We are putting a further $10.2 million allocated to stormwater projects in this year’s budget to the Fitzroy Gardens project which is currently underway. New stormwater projects in Birrarung Marr and Queen Victoria Gardens will harvest a further 50 million litres a year to keep Melbourne green and inviting for residents and visitors,” Councillor Oke said.
Economic Development and Knowledge City Councillor Kevin Louey, said the future of the retail sector would also be strengthened with the release of a new retail strategy next year.
“We know that retail is doing it tough in some parts, but we are committed to protecting Melbourne’s reputation as a shopping and dining capital. Since 2009, the City of Melbourne has put $900,000 into the retail sector through initiatives such as the Great Melbourne Treasure Hunt and Look.Stop.Shop. Funding has also gone towards the Melbourne Retail Advisory Board and into research tools including the Retail Report Card and Melbourne Retail Monitor.
"Council's investment in its premier events, including Melbourne Spring Fashion Week, in 2011-12 generated a $76.6 million impact to retailers in the local economy.
“For 2012-13, we are proposing a further $435,000 to continue this support. In 2013 we will release a new strategy to promote Melbourne’s unique assets including its distinct laneways and vibrant street life and culture. The strategy will be aligned with the business community to better meet the needs of retail in the city as we all embrace the consumer shift to new ways of shopping.”
Councillor Louey added that the budget confirmed the City of Melbourne’s commitment to becoming a smarter city and supporting the growth in our knowledge sector as Melbourne transitioned from a manufacturing to a knowledge economy.
“Melbourne has long led the way in attracting the best and brightest minds. Continuing this effort is now at a critical point given changes in the economy and the City of Melbourne will play a significant part in promoting these new directions.
“That means fostering opportunities for the growth of health services, science, research and emerging technologies and attracting the best and brightest to Melbourne. We will do this through the continuation of Melbourne Knowledge Week and promoting our knowledge sector across Australia and internationally,” Councillor Louey said.
The draft budget will be considered at a special meeting of Future Melbourne Committee and Council Meeting at 4pm today and is open for public consultation from Friday 11 May until 5pm Friday 8 June 2012. A final version will be considered by Council on Tuesday 28 June 2012.