Budget celebrations in Woodend


Elsie Lange

There is cause for celebration in Woodend following the adoption of the 2022-23 Macedon Ranges council budget on Wednesday night.

The Woodend Golf Club and parents, teachers and kids at St Ambrose Primary School are delighted to have been allocated the funding they urged the council to include in their final budget.

As part of the budget, council will embark on its highest capital works expenditure in the last six years – a total of $41.2 million.

Star Weekly has reported on the golf club’s campaign to council for $417,000 in funding to upgrade its dilapidated club rooms, and the news the money would come through made president Barney Hearnden emotional.

“I’m absolutely delighted that after years of hard work … that council has endorsed a budget that will upgrade the club house to a standard that is safe, supports disability access and creates a community asset that can be shared with other community groups,” Mr Hearden said.

He said he “couldn’t be happier”, and had called one of the members with multiple sclerosis who was excited to be able to walk into the clubhouse independently, “without having to be carried”.

“I’m actually a bit teary … this is one step closer to restoring some human dignity,” Mr Hearnden said.

St Ambrose Primary principal Bronwyn Phillips was also beaming following the news that $480,000 would be allocated in the budget to install crossings outside the school, after years of campaigning.

Last month, Star Weekly reported the school’s rally on National Walk Safely to School Day to raise awareness about a number of “near misses” children experienced at the intersection of Brooke and Templeton streets.

“We’re grateful and very relieved, because we did have genuine concerns for particularly the young people using that route … we’re delighted,” Ms Phillips said.

“We really thank council for taking the time to look into it further and to actually budget to address this safety issue … it has been a high need for quite some years now.”

She said once it was delivered, it would mean more children would walk and cycle to school with confidence.

“It’s terrific news and a great relief for us,” Ms Phillips said.

The budget also includes a rate rise of 1.75 per cent, keeping with the government’s rate cap and expects to raise $57 million.

By June next year, council’s debt will be $17.5 million, which includes $10 million borrowed for stage one of the Macedon Ranges Regional Sports Precinct project.

Adopted alongside the 2021-31 council plan, the budget includes year two actions, 2022-23.