THE imbalance in spending of ratepayers’ money across the Mornington Peninsula is starkly shown in amounts allocated for Australia Day, a national celebration aimed at bringing communities closer together.
The latest figures presented to councillors show the disparity between money allocated to communities facing Port Phillip to those on the Western Port side of the peninsula.
While representing just a small part of the shire’s $212 million overall budget, the Australia Day proposal further illustrates the widening gap in spending between the communities.
Although not yet adopted, councillors were last week asked to give tacit approval – with a view to later voting during a public council meeting – to spend $302,000 on Australia Day 2018.
However, it is understood some councillors baulked at approving the Australia day budget after seeing the disparity between towns.
The proposed amount for 2018 is $26,000 more than this year, with Mornington receiving almost all of the increase and Rosebud losing $1000.
Mornington, which has the largest Australia Day celebrations on the peninsula – including a street parade and fireworks – was allocated $141,000 while Hastings was being offered $10,000.
No two towns were the same, with Rye coming out second highest with $50,000, followed by Rosebud with $43,000. Next in line was Dromana with $30,000, followed by Mt Eliza, $13,000 and Sorrento $5000 (divided between ceremonies at the RSL and bowls clubs).
The shire’s marketing department gets a modest boost, going from $9650 this year to $10,000 next year.
The Australia Day budgets for the other towns stays the same, except for Sorrento which gets $1000 more, split between the RSL and bowls clubs.
The figures follow on from the shire’s proposed 2017/18 capital works budget which advocates spending more than four times more money in the Briars ward than that planned for Red Hill ward.
The budget allocates $40.21 million to capital works with spending in the shire’s six wards, from highest to lowest, Briars $8.47 million; Watson $4.79m; Seawinds $3.95m; Nepean $3.87m; Cerberus $2.52m; and Red Hill $2.05m.
A further $14.56m is being spent “shire wide” on capital works and priority projects.