Bold ideas demand little expense

With the high cost of council rates adding pressure to household budgets across our municipality, we need a council that recognises we can do great things without always having to spend big. 

In 2000, the City of Newcastle came close to spending millions of dollars creating a master plan and redeveloping its CBD after the closure of the BHP steel mills delivered a major blow to local economy. 

Instead, at the eleventh hour, Newcastle reinvigorated its CBD through the Renew Newcastle project, wherein fledgling businesses were assisted to gain access to existing empty retail premises on free 30-day rolling leases. 

This project cost the community next to nothing, helped support and retain now successful businesses in the Newcastle CBD and over time reduced the number of long- term commercial property vacancies. 

Subsequently, Newcastle has been named by Lonely Planet as one of the most interesting cities on earth. 

I am not suggesting that a project like this alone would significantly reduce rates, but if the council was to adopt innovative, low-cost initiatives like Renew Newcastle and apply similar principals to other areas of council business, we could start working towards rate relief for our communities. 

James Price,

Mildura Council candidate

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