Columns
10 years on Image

10 years on

Melbourne Water moving to Docklands
Read more >>

Away from the desk Image

Away from the desk

The little bent tree
Read more >>

Chamber update Image

Chamber update

COVID-19 and the Chamber’s response
Read more >>

Docklander Image

Docklander

Empowering women locally and abroad
Read more >>

Docklands Secrets Image

Docklands Secrets

Conflicting speeds
Read more >>

Chinese

零工经济的灰色区域
Read more >>

Fashion Image

Fashion

Top five street style trends
Read more >>

Health and Wellbeing Image

Health and Wellbeing

Five strategies to get through coronavirus (COVID-19)
Read more >>

Letters Image

Letters

Bring on the lasers
Read more >>

Business Image

Business

New offerings at The District Docklands Market Lane
Read more >>

Owners Corporation Law Image

Owners Corporation Law

Social distancing in apartment blocks is hard to do, but necessary right now
Read more >>

Maritime

Maritime matters
Read more >>

Pets Corner Image

Pets Corner

Adorable therapy
Read more >>

Precinct Perspectives

A new perspective from Batman’s Hill
Read more >>

SkyPad Living Image

SkyPad Living

A chair’s perspective of vertical living in COVID-19 times
Read more >>

Street Art Image

Street Art

Goodbye from Blender Studios
Read more >>

Sustainability

Sustainability in a pandemic world
Read more >>

The District

Eat your way through our most delicious hot spots
Read more >>

We Live Here Image

We Live Here

We need a clear cladding policy – now!
Read more >>

Abby's Angle  Image

Abby's Angle

Slow down. The panic is coursing through all our veins
Read more >>

Harbour Esplanade neglected despite $74 million unspent

31 Aug 2016

Some $74 million of City of Melbourne money that could have been used to revitalise Docklands’ most neglected public asset, Harbour Esplanade, has gone unspent over the past four years.

Since 2012, the council has consistently underspent on its capital works budget, to the tune of $74 million.

In the past two financial years alone the council has reported a variance totalling more than $52 million between what it budgeted on capital works and what it actually spent.

Meanwhile, the Harbour Esplanade redevelopment project has remained unfunded by council, with its focus turned on other major projects, such as the Queen Victoria Market renewal, where it is set to spend at least $250 million.

The chair of the City of Melbourne’s finance committee Cr Stephen Mayne said the capital underspending raised questions about the accuracy of the council’s budget forecasting and ability to deliver multiple capital projects in a timely manner.

“It also highlights that council is spending a disproportionately large slice of its revenues on recurrent costs such as our well-paid staff and is not delivering the necessary or promised spending on capital works. These priorities need to be reoriented,” Cr Mayne said.

“Capital spending is forecast to rise in coming years, primarily due to the Queen Victoria Market renewal, but other important projects such as Harbour Esplanade should also be delivered over the next council term,” Cr Mayne said.

“With rate capping now a reality, council will need to put the brakes on recurrent spending if it wishes to ever actually deliver an annual capital program exceeding $150 million whilst remaining debt free.”

A City of Melbourne spokesperson said there could be a number of reasons why projects could occasionally under spend on their budgets, including:

Funds allocated in advance for multi-year construction projects in order to smooth out financial peaks and are carried forward across the life of the project;

Unforseen conditions causing delays; and

Community consultations requiring more time to ensure community concerns are addressed, ensuring best value.

“Any unspent budgets are carried forward into the following financial year, as these projects are underway and continuing,” the spokesperson said.

“Such budgets are allocated to projects approved by council and spent the following year.”

The spokesperson did not address a question asking why unspent capital works budget wasn’t allocated to the Harbour Esplanade project.

Share on Facebook

Stay in touch with Docklands. Subscribe to FREE monthly e-Newspaper.

You must be registered with Docklands News to be able to post comments.
To register, please click here.