Community approval of restructuring council slides
BAW Baw has slipped in several categories of the annual council Community Satisfaction Survey, including in the key area of “Overall performance.”
First published in the 10 July 2015 edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen.
Baw Baw scored a 54 per cent approval for its overall performance in the state government-mandated survey, down from last year’s score of 57 and below the state average of 60.
The average for large rural shires this year was 56 – one point down from last year’s 57.
Asked by the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen if the result may have partially been due to bad press over the council staff restructure given that topic dominated during the survey period of
February/March, mayor Debbie Brown said “I’m beginning to think that the word ‘r’ (sic) is just out of the dictionary.”
“I think it’s people’s understanding, whether it’s restructure, whether it’s refurbishment (of the council’s Drouin office ahead of some staff being moved there from Warragul later this year) and all of those, it’s the public’s understanding of what we’re trying to do,” Cr Brown said.
“I look at the positive side of it and at the [outcome], and Memorial Park in Drouin is a classic. I have to say I was one of [the doubters] – I drove through the first day they dug everything up and I sat there thinking ‘oh, that’s not what we thought,’ but the end result was a fantastic outcome.
“Sometimes it’s shock horror. It’s a bit like the refurbishment of the offices in Drouin – you have to look at the final outcome. [It will be] an absolutely fantastic outcome for this community.”
The council improved by one point in the “Lobbying on behalf of the community” section, matching the rural shires average of 53, and by two points to 53 in the area of “Decisions made in the interest of the community.”
But its customer service rating dropped three points to 64, community consultation and engagement fell by one to 52, and satisfaction in overall direction dropped by two to 50.
The Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen asked Cr Brown if she was disappointed that satisfaction in sealed local roads only rose by one point on last year’s survey to 36 given her council’s focus on roads.
“It’s [my] ward that is affected by this – North Ward, largest ward in the shire, has a lot of roads,” she said.
“The council has 2,000km of roads, just under 1,000 of those are unsealed roads that have to be maintained.
“It comes down to, once again, when you ring someone up (for a survey), if they’ve been on a road that’s full of corrugations, full of pot holes, it’s what you get on the day.
“It’s not to say that we are not working on those roads. We have a huge infrastructure spend – over $11 million this year.”
The score of 36 is nine points below the large rural shires average of 45, and 19 behind the state average.
“When we look at our roads I can understand why people are saying ‘we’re not happy.’ We have a process in place now that we know the conditions of all our roads… we know where our roads are, we know what we need to do to bring them up to a standard,” Cr Brown said.
“It’s not going to happen overnight.”
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