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Council headed in the right direction according to 2017 Survey Results

29 June 2017

Council’s customer service and community consultation has improved significantly according to the results of this year’s Community Satisfaction Survey. The survey, conducted annually by an independent research company, interviews 400 residents aged 18 years and over.

The results, officially received by Council at Wednesday’s June ordinary meeting, indicate Council’s performance improved significantly in the areas of consultation and engagement scoring 56, seven points higher than 2016. The result sees Southern Grampians Shire Council placed higher than other large rural shires, and higher than the State average in this category. Customer service also increased significantly, scoring six points higher than last year with 69.

Southern Grampians Shire Council Mayor Mary-Ann Brown says the result comes on the back of extensive community engagement campaigns for the Council plan development, the annual budget and outdoor pools.

“We have made a concerted effort to undertake meaningful engagement and consultation with our community over the last 6-8 months. The results indicate our residents are appreciative of the opportunity to have their say on matters important to them and the big improvement from last year gives us confidence we are on the right track,” Cr Brown said.

Council’s score for overall council direction is at its highest level, having increased by 10 points since 2016 and 18 index points since 2012. Almost every demographic group surveyed increased significantly in their impression of council direction in the past year.

“We have placed a strong emphasis in the last eight months on transparency, engagement and communication with our community and have increased our efforts to build strong partnerships with other stakeholder and community groups. A high rating for overall Council direction supports this effort and gives assurance as we embark on delivering a new Council Plan for the next four years,” Cr Brown continued.

The area that stands out as being most in need of Council attention is sealed local roads.

With a performance index score of 35, this is the service area where Council has rated most poorly, scoring significantly lower than the state-wide and large rural group averages.

“The survey results tell us that the area we really need to concentrate our efforts on is sealed local roads. This has always been an area where we have scored poorly and in an effort to improve in the future, we asked residents to tell us which roads in particular were of most concern.

“The majority of the roads listed were managed by VicRoads. The top roads named were Coleraine Road, Ballarat Road, Hamilton and Glenelg Highways, Portland Road, Casterton Road, Henty Highway, Dunkeld-Cavendish Road and Hamilton-Port Fairy Road, all of which are VicRoads roads,” Cr Brown said.

“We know roads are important to our residents. Council advocates for road improvements at local, state and federal levels and we have allocated significant funding in our 2017/18 proposed budget towards infrastructure. We have been working closely with VicRoads on key projects for the Hamilton CBD, including a heavy vehicle bypass for Hamilton along with key arterial road upgrades across the region. We will continue to advocate increased funding for road and traffic improvement projects throughout our Shire and work with neighbouring municipalities to ensure roads across south west Victoria are sufficiently maintained,” Cr Brown said.

While council are pleased with the overall results, Cr Brown said they would not be resting on their laurels.

“We know we still have work to do and can always make improvements.

“We will continue to listen and to refine our processes to ensure we are working with our community to provide what they need,” Cr Brown concluded.

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