Hepburn Shire Council has launched a new survey and information relating to its Financial Vision inviting ratepayers, residents and visitors to submit their responses to support the development of a long-term financial plan.

The Victorian Local Government sector is facing severe financial challenges due to increased costs of service delivery and construction, a limited range of revenue options and recovery from costly natural disasters. At Hepburn Shire, the  financial environment has been adversely impacted by rising inflation affecting the delivery of services and infrastructure, cost shifting from other levels of government, and extraordinary costs associated with recovery from recent flooding and storm events. Multiple years of State Government-prescribed rate cap adjustments below inflation has also had a negative impact on financial sustainability. Like other rural councils, Hepburn has limited opportunities for alternate income streams.

In the 2024/25 budget, Council has committed to making $1.5 million in operating savings. Council is committed to transparency and accountability and is now committing to working with community to ensure our long-term financial viability.

In 2025/26 and beyond, Council needs to find an additional $4 million in long-term savings or additional revenue to ensure financial viability. delivers on our shared Community Vision.

Council has released a Service Map and a Service Catalogue to share further information on the allocation of Council budgets across Services and to identify how services are delivered to the community.

Council is inviting locals and visitors to identify their priorities regarding service delivery, community infrastructure and rates. A survey has opened on the Participate Hepburn webpage.

Mayor Cr Brian Hood said, “We want to build our financial roadmap together, and we invite the community to attend one of our drop-in sessions across the Shire or to have their say on the Participate Hepburn page of the website. We can either increase rates or change the delivery of, or even cut, some of our services or undertake a combination of both options. We want to gauge community sentiments and ideas on reshaping the budget, and on the management of our buildings and infrastructure.”

Community members are invited to attend drop-in sessions for support on using the survey tools or to answer any questions on Council’s budgets, rates or integrated planning processes.

Drop-in sessions are to be held:

  • Daylesford: Thursday 11 July  5:00 – 8:00pm at Daylesford Town Hall
  • Glenlyon: Monday 8 July  4:30 – 7:30pm at Glenlyon Shire Hall
  • Trentham: Friday 12 July  4:30 – 7:30pm at The Mechanics Trentham
  • Creswick: Friday 5 July  4:30 – 7:30pm at Creswick Town Hall
  • Clunes: Saturday 6 July 9:30am – 12:30pm at Clunes Library, Ulumbarra Room on ground floor

The Participate Hepburn Financial Vision page will be open for comment between 1-17 July, with a long- term financial plan to be presented to Council for adoption in September.

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This article is based on a media release from Hepburn Shire Council.