2024-25 Budget Explainer

The City of Sydney’s draft budget for 2024-5 is on public exhibition until 10 June 2024. The elected Council will vote on the final budget on 24 June 2024.

With $730.3 million in operational spending, a $115.4 million operating surplus, and billions in cash and property investments, the City of Sydney is one of the wealthiest councils in Australia.

We want to hear from you!

Is Council spending the right amounts on the right things, including community spaces, parks, waste and child care? Are the fees council plans to charge for key services like hiring spaces, using sports fields, or using its pools, too much, too little or just right?

And with the housing affordability and cost of living pressures on our city, what more could Council be doing to support the community? 

This budget explainer outlines some of the key measures in the draft 2024-2025 budget, and answers some key questions that we often get asked.

Have your say on how the City of Sydney spends its $800+ million budget for 2024-2025 by sending an email submission

or email: [email protected]

Read the budget documents here:

Can’t find something you’re looking for? Email us at [email protected]

Income and Expenditure

The City of Sydney Council funds its operations through resident and business rates, grants, parking, investments, fees for using the pools, parks and hiring council spaces, street advertising, and contributions from development.

Council is responsible for services like waste management, sporting fields, pools, community centres, community support, and more. Council services are delivered by council staff or ‘outsourced’ (i.e. by external companies).

Council is funds some local community and arts services, festivals and events, including New Years in the city and Mardi Gras. Council gives out grants to businesses and community organisations, and supports a number of programs for climate transition, homelessness services and more.

A large part of the budget each year is spent on maintaining and upgrading existing ‘assets’ (like footpaths, local roads, trees and green spaces).

A small percentage of the budget is spent on affordable housing.

City of Sydney DRAFT Budget 2024-25 – THE HEADLINE FIGURES 

Total income is $845.7M including:


Total spending is $730.3M including:

Income from capital grants and contributions of $112.5M (13% of the total)


Spending on salaries and wages of $289 million (40% of the total spending)

Income from interests and investments $34.3M (4% of the total)


Spending on operations, grants and services of $245 million (34% of the total)

Other income $130.4M (15%) includes advertising $21.5M, commercial properties $75.9M and community properties income $12.6M


Depreciation and other expenses $195.1M (26% of the total)


This leaves an ‘Operating Surplus’ of $115.4 million – most of which will be spent on capital works and upgrading existing ‘assets’ like footpaths, or otherwise will be invested in cash or buildings. 

Total Council cash assets and investments $698.2 million, of which around $320 million is ‘restricted’ for use for a particular purpose.

Other assets including the buildings council owns, investment properties, parks and footpaths worth a total of approx $14.1 Billion.


Highlights in the 2024/25 budget

Some key spending for the 2024/5 financial year include:

  • Housing for all/ affordable housing work $5.4M (1 FTE and $3M in grants)
  • Office of the Lord Mayor $4.3M (22 FTE)
  • Open space and parks $12.4 incl new including synthetic turf at Perry Park + $27.3M existing maintain/ renew 
  • Bike paths $24.9M incl Oxford St Cycleway
  • Street tree planting $3.5M
  • Grants to community and businesses (various) $18.9M cash + $11.3M in kind
  • Public art $2.7M new + $2.1M existing
  • Upgrade the façade of Sydney Town Hall $5.0M ($12.4 total project budget)
  • Crown Street Public Domain continued upgrade $12.4M ($13.4M already spent)

Some new initiatives in the budget for the 2024/5 financial year include:

  • Reduced fee artists and musicians to hire council spaces to rehearse (following a Greens motion)
  • $600,000 in new activation and event grants for Chinatown + Dixon St Public Domain Improvements $2.5M ($0.6M already spent)
  • Brick Kilns Sydney Park upgrade $2.8M
  • Program and staff support for the new multipurpose Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander space at 119 Redfern Street, Redfern

Have your say on how the City of Sydney spends its $800+ million budget for 2024-2025 by sending an email submission

or email: [email protected]

Read the budget documents here:

Can’t find something you’re looking for? Email us at [email protected]

Answers to some key questions we have been asked by the community about the City of Sydney Budget 2024-25 

How much are rates?

Rates have increased 5.1% from 2023/4. Rates for 2024/5 are on page 99 of the draft Operational Plan 2024-25.

Have fees have gone up?

Fees and charges (including parking revenue) account for roughly 25% of the City’s budget. Fees for the current financial year are provided in detail here.

Which parks, streets and community centres will be upgraded in 2024/25?  

‘Capital works projects’ valued at more than $5M are listed in the Draft Operational Plan 2024-25, from pages 85 to 87. 

A list of community facilities which are scheduled for upgrades can be found in Answers to Questions on Notice to the Council by Clr Sylvie Ellsmore 13-May-2024, available to view here (see pages 31-33)

What are the Council surpluses and investments?

The City has about $700 million in cash reserves and is estimated to have an operating surplus of roughly $110m every year, for the next ten years. That is, Council makes around $110m more in revenue each year than it needs to spend on employee costs, services and new projects. For 2024/5 the operating surplus is $115.4 million.

The City needs to renew its existing assets (footpaths, community centres etc) to keep them in good condition. It uses some of its surplus for this. Council assets are in very good condition compared to other councils and the budget allocating has them improving even further in the future.

How the council should investment its surplus cash is a key source of disagreement amongst the current elected Councillors. The Greens think Council should invest in council housing again like it used to, offering affordable rents and an ethical, sustainable investment to improve council’s financial position.


This section will be progressively updated to answer more questions from the the community

Have your say on how the City of Sydney spends its $800+ million budget for 2024-2025 by sending an email submission

or email: [email protected]

Read the budget documents here:

Can’t find something you’re looking for? Email us at [email protected]