$107.3 million budget for Baw Baw approved

Picture: ON FILE

By Matthew Sims

A $3.62 million allocation towards the redevelopment of the Drouin Recreation Reserve was among commitments made in the Baw Baw Council’s 2024/25 Annual Budget.

Approved at a special meeting on Wednesday 19 June, the budget included an expenditure of $107.03 million, alongside the 2024/25 Capital Works Program, also known as the Long-Term Infrastructure Program (LTIP), which will deliver $41.2 million of projects across the financial year.

As part of the $4.1 million project, the oval at Drouin Recreation Reserve would receive a major overhaul to service and benefit a large number of sporting groups across the region, with works scheduled to commence towards the end of 2024.

Other highlights of the budget included a $1.2 million towards Warragul Streetscape Works (Queen Street), a $1.75 million allocation towards the sealing of Gardner and Holman Road in Drouin, $170,000 towards the construction of an additional storage shed at Longwarry Recreation Reserve, and $70,000 towards new shelters at the Burke Street Netball Precinct in Warragul.

Baw Baw Council mayor Annemarie McCabe said she was proud of the new annual budget, which was strongly focused on the future of Baw Baw and catering for the rapid growth being experienced in the area.

“Council continues to balance delivering and providing our community with the services and infrastructure they depend on, while also navigating a somewhat unpredictable and high-cost economic environment,” she said.

“I would like to thank everyone who gave their contributions during the community consultation phase, and also highlight the fact that several projects were added to our budget as a result of community submissions, two being an additional storage shed at Longwarry Recreation Reserve and new shelters at the Burke Street Netball Precinct in Warragul.”

Cr McCabe said in light of its own budget being delivered, the council was still heavily reliant on support from other levels of government.

“We remain strong in our advocacy efforts and commitment and continue to seek additional funding and grants from both the State and Federal Governments,” she said.

“Baw Baw Shire Council received its largest funding grant for a capital works project when we received a funding boost of $14.5 million from the Federal Government’s Growing Regions Program towards the construction of the Baw Baw Culture and Connection Precinct, which is also a major highlight of the Long-Term Infrastructure Plan 2024/25.”

This year was also the first time that the council undertook its community engagement for the draft budget via its online engagement portal Baw Baw Connect.

Offering enhanced flexibility and a user-friendly interface, a ‘draft budget hub’ was created, allowing for each of the key documents to have a separate page complete with submission capability, fact sheets, FAQs and concise, easy to follow information.

For more information about the 2024/25 budget, visit www.bawbawconnect.com.au/budget