Draft Financial Sustainability Strategy

Council is asking for feedback on their draft Financial Sustainability Strategy:

Image credit: City of Yarra.
Image credit: City of Yarra.

Strategic Levers

The Draft Financial Sustainability Strategy offers seven Strategic Levers:

  1. Sustainable cash reserves & responsible borrowing
  2. Optimise revenue
  3. Well planned assets
  4. Review the service landscape
  5. Invest in transformation
  6. Robust finanial management
  7. Prioritise advocacy & partnerships

Notably, the strategy describes the user pays principle:

The user pay principle, in the context of local government, is a guiding concept that advocates for individuals or entities benefiting directly from specific services or facilities to bear the associated costs. Under this principle, users are charged fees corresponding to the level of services they use or the extent of benefits they receive. The user pay principle promotes fairness by ensuring that those who directly benefit from particular amenities, such as recreational facilities or waste collection services, contribute proportionately to the cost of maintaining and providing these services, relieving the financial burden on the broader community. Those who directly benefit from, or cause expenditure, should make an appropriate contribution to the service, balanced by the capacity of people to pay while ensuring compliance with National Competition Policy.

Draft Financial Sustainability Strategy

A key suggestion is to adopt a pricing model for on-street parking, which is expected to increase revenue (from commuters, not residents, who will continue to use low-cost parking permits):

The cost of Yarra’s resident parking permits will remain among the lowest in inner-city Melbourne, and we are also maintaining our significant concession discounts (including retaining a free first permit for concession holders). Parking restrictions have a primary goal of sharing a resource rather than generating revenue, however a pricing model is effective in supporting more efficient, fairer use. We are moving towards a more demand driven parking model that considers demand for parking spaces in price setting. This increase in parking revenue will help Council’s financial position without major community impost.

Draft Financial Sustainability Strategy


As described in our ‘Better for Parking‘ page and in our ‘Revenue‘ page, the opportunities offered by parking reform include:

  • People will be able to find a park near their destination, and
  • Council will benefit from extra revenue on the order of $36 million per year (approximately 15% of the annual budget of $220 million).


The Draft Financial Sustainability Strategy summarises risks facing council, including:

  • whether the upcoming Parking Strategy will recommend user-pays market-rate parking fees for commuters,
  • whether user-pays principles will be adopted, and
  • whether the 2024 council elections will deliver a majority of councillors that continue to support the strategy.
Excerpt from draft Financial Sustainability Strategy. Image credit: City of Yarra.
Excerpt from draft Financial Sustainability Strategy. Image credit: City of Yarra.

Our view

Streets Alive Yarra supports the draft, and believe it aligns with the Community Vision and Council Plan. We’re grateful that council will closely examine how on-street parking is priced, and has acknowledged that the revenue opportunity is material to council’s financial sustainability. Every year that council delays the introduction of best-practice pricing means that council and ratepayers miss out on another $36 million dollars, which could be used to pay off debt or invest in infrastructure. We encourage council to move forward with reform as fast as practicable.

Have your say

We encourage residents to read the complete document, form your own views, and then have your say via Your Say Yarra:

Image credit: Your Say Yarra.

If you’d like to support the Strategy but are short of time, feel free to complete the survey and follow this guide to the questions:

  • Please rank the strategic levers from 1 to 7:
    • #1 increase our revenue (from parking),
    • #2 invest in transformation (IT and digital permits),
    • #3 robust financial management (fiscally responsible decisions),
    • #4 review the service landscape (outsource where it makes sense),
    • #5 to #7 your choice
  • Please indicate your level of agreement:
    • The proposed strategic levers are effective: Strongly Agree
    • Important for Council to have funds set aside for emergencies: Agree
  • Is there anything additional that you think should be considered? No answer required.
  • Do you have any additional comments? No answer required.

Published 17th September 2023