Mayor and CEO Overview
Welcome to Council’s online Annual Report 2017–2018 in which we account for our performance, our achievements and setbacks. We also report on how we have addressed emerging challenges and provided stewardship over how public monies and resources have been utilised in the community’s interests.
ACHIEVEMENT AGAINST OUR COMMUNITY PLAN
In 2017–18 Council achieved 23 out of the 36 commitments in the 2017–18 Action Plan of the Glen Eira Council and Community Plan 2017–2021 and a further 13 commitments are underway.
We consulted with the community on 153 projects which included advisory groups and committees; community surveys; questionnaires; focus groups; feedback, submissions; public forums; and individual consultations. Community consultation is a vital part of our planning and decision-making processes. It helps us to understand community priorities and issues and ensures community involvement. We are committed to engaging with our community through best practice consultation methods to achieve the best outcomes.
Providing greater online options for our community continues to be a priority for Council. We digitised 14 of our top transactions, including online enquiries, building permit applications and illegally parked vehicle notifications. In addition to this, we moved 60 paper-based forms and processes online. Some of the key benefits realised from this work include: a reduction in wait time to speak to a customer service officer; an ability to complete transactions at your convenience 24/7; a reduction in the time taken to resolve an issue. The improvements also mean that we can close the loop when a request is completed, and the community can give immediate feedback on our performance. We will continue to engage and work with the Glen Eira community to ensure our service delivery is timely, convenient and meets future expectations.
Well located, better designed development across Glen Eira is now more certain since the adoption of our Quality Design Guidelines. These Guidelines, which were adopted at a Council Meeting on Tuesday 27 February 2018, are now in place for all new commercial and residential development across our City. They outline appropriate building types for each location and set architectural design standards to protect what is unique about our suburbs. We continued a comprehensive engagement process with the community to set the long-term vision for our activity centres, as well as detailed Structure Plans for Bentleigh, Carnegie and Elsternwick. These Structure Plans were adopted at a Council Meeting on Tuesday 27 February 2018. We also commenced work on Structure Plans for East Village and the area around Caulfield train station. We adopted an Integrated Transport Strategy which identifies ways to increase walking, cycling and public transport trips and strives for a 50:50 mode share of car and non-car trips by 2031.
At a Special Council Meeting on Friday 17 November 2017, Rosstown Ward Councillor Tony Athanasopoulos was elected Mayor of Glen Eira for the 2017−18 Council year. Cr Jamie Hyams, who is serving his fourth term on Council, was elected Deputy Mayor. In February 2018, we introduced live streaming of Ordinary and Special Meetings of Council to provide the community with greater access to Council debate and the decision-making process. Recorded meetings can now be accessed via our website.
An important part of our role is advocating in the interests of our community. To guide this work we adopted the Glen Eira Advocacy Strategy 2018−2020 on Tuesday 19 December 2017. The Strategy, which has been developed in response to feedback received from the community, summarises the priority lobbying activities that are both critical and imperative to secure the vision for, and meet the future needs of our growing City.
On Thursday 21 September 2017, the State Government passed legislation to establish a new, independent governing body for Caulfield Racecourse Reserve. The passing of this legislation enables the 54 hectare parcel of Crown land to be managed more effectively and for the purposes that it was reserved for — recreation and a public park — a change we have been advocating for over many years.
We secured one-off State and Federal Government project funding. Projects funded include:
- Booran Road Community Reserve — The Wedge $355,000
- Duncan Mackinnon Reserve athletics track construction $125,000
- EE Gunn Reserve Community Projects $100,000
- Koornang Park Pavilion female facilities redevelopment $100,000
- McKinnon Reserve Pavilion female facilities redevelopment $100,000
- Moorleigh Village Reserve cricket nets and multi-purpose facility redevelopment $100,000
In addition to this, the State Government also announced $2 million of funding for a community hub at Murrumbeena Park.
In May 2018 we were the first council in Victoria’s south-east to introduce food waste recycling. From 1 May Glen Eira residents were able to put all food scraps, including leftovers, meat, dairy, fruit and vegetable scraps into their green waste bins. Introducing food waste recycling is one of the single biggest opportunities for reducing carbon emissions from services that Council manages. We hope to divert as much as possible of the 15,000 tonnes of food waste currently sent to landfill each year in Glen Eira. Our carbon footprint decreased by 8 per cent to 9,961 tonnes CO2 equivalent compared to 10,837 tonnes the previous financial year. This decrease was due primarily to a 396 per cent increase in solar power generation and an overall decrease in energy use at Council sites. We planted 2,038 street trees (913 replacement and 1,125 additional).
As part of our Community Grants Program, Council provided $358,931 to 140 local not-for-profit community groups and organisations to encourage community strengthening and inclusion. We accommodated 561 teams playing community sport and delivered 129,905 hours of in-home support to more than 3,400 elderly, frail or disabled residents. StoryTime and BabyTime sessions held at Glen Eira Libraries were attended by 57,297 children and parents. Glen Eira Leisure, which includes GESAC, Caulfield Recreation Centre and Carnegie Swim Centre, hosted more than 1.5 million visitors.
Community facilities and assets
We invested $35.23 million in community infrastructure and community facilities. We expended 92 per cent of the capital budget. The program comprised 75 per cent renewal and upgrade of existing assets, 5 per cent expansion and 20 per cent new. We removed 4,113 square metres of graffiti from private property.
SUPPORT TO LOCAL BUSINESS
We held a series of face-to-face forums for local businesses, including two women’s peer mentoring events (August 2017 and May 2018); a pop-up co-working week at Glen Eira Town Hall (November 2017); and a connection economy event (November 2017). To enable emerging groups and connections to continue to communicate and collaborate between meetings, we launched an online collaboration platform — GlenEiraBusiness.slack.com — which allows businesses to connect, share their stories and learn from one another.
Finance and risk management
Our operating result was a surplus of $31.76 million. This was favourable to budget by $14.55 million mainly due to:
- higher than anticipated revenue from parking infringements income $2.58 million;
- higher than budgeted open space fee income $2.85 million;
- higher than anticipated operating grants due to the early receipt of the 2017–18 payment from the Victorian Grants Commission $1.94 million;
- non-monetary contribution of a parcel of land valued at $5.23 million; and
- savings in employee costs $760,000 and lower depreciation and amortisation $1.23 million.
Any surpluses from operating activities are invested in areas such as capital works, technology and other service improvements so we can continue to deliver high quality, responsive and accessible services to the community at a reasonable cost. We continue to be a low-cost, high investing organisation which charges low municipal rates. Council continues to have the second-lowest average rates and charges in metropolitan Melbourne.
As well as being a service provider, we are also one of Glen Eira’s largest employers. We continue to invest in development, leadership and wellbeing programs for our staff. We conducted a comprehensive Employee Engagement Survey in September 2017 with all staff, showing an overall employee engagement rate of 60 per cent, which is 31 per cent above the Local Government benchmark.
Our internal transformation program — Glen Eira Transforming Together — delivered 12 major projects and initiatives and 16 are on target for completion. Some high impact projects include digitising paper based forms, applications and permits and introducing the CityWatch app to make it easier for the community to report issues.
Sixty three staff members were recognised for the work they have contributed to the organisation above and beyond the normal expectations of their role. Staff turnover was 11.4 per cent. We would like to thank all managers and staff members for continuing to achieve Council’s objectives and for serving the Glen Eira community.
Changes in global recycling markets, triggered by China’s new standards for recyclable material, mean the cost of processing kerbside recyclables has significantly increased. Although we have avoided sending recycling to landfill, the changes in global recycling markets have resulted in unforeseen cost increases for Council and ratepayers.
Major infrastructure development by State and Federal Governments (rail, road and buildings) has affected the availability of contractors that would typically undertake works for Council. The magnitude and pace of these larger scale projects are consuming resources and inflating construction prices. Smaller contractors who would usually tender for Council works are being engaged as sub-contractors for larger scale companies, at higher rates. This is resulting in fewer tender submissions and in some instances significantly delaying the ability to commence works.
Elsternwick Urban Renewal Masterplan
When Council adopted the Elsternwick Structure Plan, a commitment was made to undertake further traffic and shadowing analysis for the Elsternwick Urban Renewal South area (and surrounds) prior to proceeding with the development of the Planning Scheme Amendment. We understand there is community concern regarding the level of impact that the proposed urban renewal area may generate and we will be forming an Elsternwick Urban Renewal South Community Reference Group to receive further community feedback.
Integrated Transport Strategy
Our Integrated Transport Strategy establishes a goal to strive for a 50:50 mode share of car and non-car trips by 2031. To help us achieve this goal, we will be undertaking two pilot projects which include ‘safe school zones’ and a ‘safe cycling corridor’. A pilot project is a way for Council to test new and innovative transport ideas by undertaking detailed data collection and analysis, involving the community and applying key learnings.
Community engagement — journey mapping
A key focus for 2018−19 will be to gain a thorough understanding of the journey our customers go on when transacting with us. To do this we have engaged members of the community to participate in a series of customer journey mapping workshops. This process will provide us with insights to build a better future with our customers to ensure they remain at the centre of what we do.
Cr Tony Athanasopoulos
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER