Mayor and CEO overview
Welcome to Council’s first online Annual Report 2016–2017 in which we account for our performance, our achievements and setbacks, our approach to emerging challenges and our stewardship of public monies.
Achievement against our Community Plan
In 2016–17, Council achieved 83 out of the 103 actions in the Glen Eira Community Plan 2013–2017.
Public open space
Public open space continues to be a priority for Council. We acquired a property at 6 Aileen Avenue, Caulfield South, which we hope to convert to a pocket park following community consultation; we completed the redevelopment of the disused Reservoir site in Glen Huntly — Booran Reserve — which provides residents with 1.6 hectares of fantastic open space and parkland; Hopetoun Gardens, Elsternwick underwent significant enhancement to its entrance to complement the planting of four mature palm trees. Landscaping works along the façade of the Gardens include a new entrance wall, new garden beds, seating, signage and new pavers along the Glenhuntly Road walkway.
We consulted the community on two landscape concepts for an area of Joyce Park in Ormond. The new open space will be created by the inclusion of the eastern bowling green — previously part of the Glen Eira McKinnon Bowls Club.
Works to remove three of Victoria’s worst level crossings — Centre Road, Bentleigh; McKinnon Road, McKinnon; and North Road, Ormond were completed in November 2016.
We were delighted that our advocacy for interim building height controls on commercially zoned land in the Bentleigh and Carnegie shopping strips was approved by the Minister for Planning in May.
We went through a comprehensive engagement process with the community to set the long-term vision for Bentleigh, Carnegie, Elsternwick, East Village and our other activity centres. This has been outlined in our newly created Activity Centre Housing and Local Economy Strategy. We continue to improve our service delivery with planning information requests; pre-application advice; extension of time requests; and search and copy requests all now available online.
Glen Eira’s 2016–2020 Council was officially sworn in at a Special Council Meeting on Tuesday 8 November 2016, following the October Council elections. Five new councillors were elected and four former councillors re-elected to represent the Glen Eira community for the next four years. We underwent an organisational restructure to ensure Council is sustainable for the future. The Glen Eira Council and Community Plan 2017–2021 was adopted by Council, following extensive community consultation. Our engagement process was diverse and co-ordinated through a range of interactions, including face-to-face, online, hard copy, email and telephone.
Our request for interim building height controls on commercially zoned land in the Bentleigh and Carnegie shopping strips was approved by Minister for Planning Hon. Richard Wynne. These height controls are binding on all planning permit applicants and Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). The approval of the interim height controls now enables Council and the community to create a shared vision for Bentleigh without the threat of inappropriately tall buildings being approved by VCAT.
We secured $1.5 million in State and Federal Government project funding. Projects funded include:
- Booran Reserve — $65,000;
- Brady Road Kindergarten and Bentleigh West Kindergarten early learning facility upgrades — $225,000;
- Duncan Mackinnon Reserve athletic track reconstruction — $100,000;
- Duncan Mackinnon Reserve netball courts — $90,000;
- King George Reserve Pavilion female facilities redevelopment — $90,000; and
- EE Gunn Reserve rehabilitation with warm season grasses — $653,000.
We continued to implement our solar program across Council-owned sites. Seven buildings were fitted with solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Council now generates clean electricity in the order of 137,638 Kilowatt hours per year, the equivalent of the power used by approximately 28 average homes in Glen Eira. We are one of 13 metropolitan Melbourne councils participating in landmark contracts for the recycling of food waste and garden waste (organics) from kerbside bin collections. When the new facilities commissioned under the contracts start operating, they will complete a network across Melbourne capable of diverting more than half a million tonnes of food and garden waste away from landfills by 2019. We hope to be able to introduce food waste recycling services for the community in 2018.
As part of its Community Grants Program, Council provided $437,063 to 142 local not-for-profit community groups and organisations to encourage community strengthening and inclusion. We accommodated 264 teams playing community sport and delivered 92,222 hours of in-home support to more than 3,000 elderly, frail or disabled residents. There are no waiting lists for kindergarten, child care or home care within Glen Eira. StoryTime and BabyTime sessions held at Glen Eira Libraries and Learning Centres were attended by 61,869 children and parents. Glen Eira Sports and Aquatic Centre (GESAC) hosted 1.5 million visitors. Of the 15,500 members at GESAC, 52 per cent are female.
Community facilities and assets
We invested $35 million in community infrastructure and community facilities. We completed 96 per cent of the capital budget. The program comprised 76 per cent renewal and upgrade of existing assets, 19 per cent expansion and five per cent new. We opened Booran Reserve in Glen Huntly. We removed 6,690 square metres of graffiti from private property.
Finance and risk management
Our operating result was a surplus of $29.43 million. This was favourable to budget by $12.21 million mainly due to:
- higher than anticipated revenue from parking infringements income $3.2 million;
- higher than budgeted open space fee income $2.31 million;
- higher than anticipated operating grants due to the early receipt of the 2017–18 payment from the Victorian Grants Commission $1.83 million;
- increased planning fee income of $1.0 million due to changes in the planning and subdivision fee regulations from October 2016;
- better than budget interest income of $504,000 and rates and charges $232,000;
- higher capital grants by $290,000 due to additional funding; and
- savings in employee costs $1.68 million and lower depreciation and amortisation $1.01 million.
Any surplus on operations is allocated to higher levels of capital investment. We continue to achieve above average capital investment, below average operating costs and the second lowest average rates and charges in Melbourne.
Our staff members
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 members. We introduced Glen Eira Transforming Together — an internal transformation program centred on adopting innovative ways of thinking, operating and delivering services. We undertook an organisation wide audit and qualitative baseline assessment of our values to ensure they align with our desired culture. Collectively, we decided on five new values — Collaboration, Respect, Service Excellence, Integrity, and Innovation. Forty nine 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 11.8 per cent. We would like to thank all managers and staff members for continuing to achieve Council’s objectives and serve the Glen Eira community.
The opening of Booran Reserve was delayed due to a combination of inclement weather (wettest Melbourne weather in a decade), works meeting the quality and OHS standards specified so that the Reserve was fit for purpose, and service authority works to activate power to the site.
Works carried out by the State Government’s Level Crossing Removal Authority, to remove three of the worst level crossings — Centre Road, Bentleigh; McKinnon Road, McKinnon; and North Road, Ormond — had a significant impact on our local shopping strips, especially traders.
We have continued to advocate to the State Government for better use of the underutilised Crown Land at Caulfield Racecourse Reserve. Unfortunately progress has been slower than we would have liked, due to complexities in the legislative processes associated with the dissolution of the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve Trust and the establishment of a new governing body. We continue to hold the Government to account for ensuring that this valuable community asset is opened up for community use at the earliest opportunity.
We considered what continuing role to play in the provision of disability services once the Commonwealth National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS ) rolls out in Glen Eira in April 2018. The NDIS is a significant change to the disability services landscape and under the new provisions; it is not going to be feasible for Council to register directly as a provider under NDIS.
Many sports clubs in Glen Eira are at capacity and are requesting to increase the number of teams. Council was able to accommodate all additional requests by existing clubs by increasing sportsground maintenance. We cannot accommodate requests from new clubs or introduce new sports whilst the number of grounds remains the same. We receive approximately 15 extra requests per year for sportsground usage from new clubs.
2017–18 is already shaping up to be a big year for Glen Eira City Council. Not only will we deliver the priorities outlined in our Council and Community Plan 2017–2021, we will also continue to work with and engage with the community through consultation to achieve the best outcomes for the Glen Eira community. Improving our service offering through digital transformation and gaining insight into customer experience, will continue to be a large focus of our internal transformation program.
Cr Mary Delahunty
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER