Ballarat City Council draft budget

Ballarat's Eureka Stadium
Ballarat's Eureka Stadium

Ballarat Residents and Ratepayers Association has taken aim at uncertainty over the value of the redeveloped Eureka Stadium.

Association secretary John Barnes said no business case was presented to the public or Ballarat City Council explaining the stadium’s benefits.

“It is disturbing that we don't have a business plan for it still,” he said.

“We don't seem to have a clear operating system, we don't have transparent costs.

“It has been disappointing that there would be so much money spent on a project that is going to require a lot of recurrent support, I don't know whether it will run on profit, whether it will generate losses or what the size of the losses will be.”

Mr Barnes made the comments during a public hearing into the 2017-18 draft budget at council’s ordinary meeting on Wednesday night.

The association also challenged council on a proposal to cut maintenance on council assets in half over four years.

Council’s 2017-21 strategic plan details a planned cut to asset renewal. This will greatly reduce what council spends to keep assets in near-new condition.

Ballarat mayor Samantha McIntosh said it would be important for council to ensure the city received a return on its investment in the stadium.

“As councillors know there has been significant funding through from the state government,” she said.

“It is important we do ensure that facility works to deliver back to the Ballarat community.”

Mr Barnes said council was deliberately allowing assets to be run down in order to balance its budget.

“I sympathise with councillors – it is a very difficult task to put together a budget, particularly with rate capping in place,” he said.

“That falls short of the obligation you have put in your council plan.

“But more importantly the statements to Victorian Electoral Commission you made before the election last year, where the majority of councillors said they were about maintaining assets.”