General rates to rise under new Hume budget

Around $45 will be added to annual general rates bills following the adoption of the 2024/25 budget by Hume City councillors on Monday 24 June.

During a debate that ran for almost an hour, those opposing the budget were Cllrs Trevor Dance, Jodi Jackson, and Jim Overend.

Cllr Dance said very little work has been done to reduce council’s costs and questioned its $400,000 community relief package saying it equals the annual salary paid to one council staff member. He did not name the individual, but Sunbury Life assumes he was referring to CEO Sheena Frost.

“One council employee’s wage is all we are putting into community relief for our thousands of rate payers in need?”

As previously reported by Sunbury Life, Hume City Council is not complying with the Victorian Government Minister’s Good Practice Guidelines for Service Rates and Charges because they are not mandatory.

“I cannot support the added burden on residents because council does not want to follow the guidelines,” said Cllr Dance.

Cllr Jackson (Aitken ward) didn’t support the budget saying funding for the Bulla Recreation Reserve has disappeared.

“Previously in the long-term budget we knew that we were doing a Bulla Recreation Master Plan and that we had set aside significant funds to ensure the infrastructure could be delivered,” she said.

“However, in the long-term budget forecast that we have been provided, those funds are no longer represented. It tells me that prior to 2029, infrastructure is not really likely to be delivered, and I think that is just too lengthy for an item that’s been in our capital works program for a significant amount of time.”

Cllr Overend (Aitken ward) is concerned about cost-of-living pressures, and that many residents are under mortgage stress, struggling to pay their bills.

“No matter what we offer them, they are struggling big time and will be losing their properties,” he said. “And it is because of that I will be voting against the rate increase.”

The council has an operating surplus forecast of $133m, but the underlying result will be a deficit of $700,000. Rateable income for 2024/25 is projected to be $258m. Of this $176m (68%) is for council staff.

Cllr Jarrod Bell, who announced his re-election campaign on Saturday, said budgets are about roads, rates, and rubbish, and that the budget “delivers in those spaces in spades”.

“This budget contributes $8.17m for local road resurfacing and reseals,” said Cllr Bell. “We have $1.25m for our local area traffic management plan. Local projects, at people’s home levels, their local streets, their local neighbourhoods.”

Cllr Bell also mentioned Sunbury’s multideck carpark and trod on the toes of Cllr Jack Medcraft by mentioning $1m for upgrades to the Sunbury Seniors club – something Cllr Medcraft was keen to share.

Cllr Medcraft said he’s spent more than 40 hours in meetings and a weekend away to work out what was going to go in the budget.

“What we’ve done is put the important projects in to improve the day-to-day living of people in Hume,” he said.

“We have put hardship clauses in and we have supported the public more than any other council. We have really stretched the boundaries because of good management.”

How councillors voted:

In favour of the budget:

  • Haweil
  • Misho
  • Hollow
  • Sherry
  • Mayor Kurt
  • Moore
  • Bell
  • Medcraft


  • Jackson
  • Dance
  • Overend