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MAYORAL COLUMN 21 November 2016

Released on 21 November 2016

Higher than average community satisfaction

Councillors in each of Loddon’s five wards are back to business - with the public’s vote of confidence.

Community satisfaction demonstrated through the postal vote result has been reinforced by comparative data appearing on the Know Your Council website which went live Tuesday 15 November at www.knowyourcouncil.vic.gov.au.

Statistical information contained on the website shows our Council ranks above the state average when it comes to community satisfaction, community consultation and engagement.

This is a tremendous achievement for a small regional Victorian council and something we should be very proud of.

Information contained on the website is gathered through the Local Government Performance Reporting Framework and provides a comparative snapshot of how Victorian councils are performing across a broad range of services.

A quick analysis shows Loddon Shire is performing well in several key areas when compared to similar councils across the state as well as against other Victorian Councils regardless of size or location.

While Council governance including community satisfaction with Council decisions was particularly positive, the results show Loddon is also performing well in several other areas including home and community care, maternal and child health and roads.

The results which were compiled before the flooding events revealed a community satisfaction with sealed local roads equal to the state average and above the average for similar councils.

This figure correlates with statistics showing Loddon Shire only received 8.72 requests for sealed local road maintenance per 100 kilometres, compared to the state average of 36.56 and 24.77 for similar councils.

Loddon Shire ratepayers will also be pleased to discover their average residential rate per residential property is significantly lower than that being paid by residents living in similar size council areas.

People choosing to live in our municipality are also clear winners in recurrent grants stakes, with Loddon Shire receiving two dollars for every one per head compared to those living in similar councils and more than four times the amount received on average across the state.

If you would like to see for yourself how Loddon stacks up against other councils I would encourage you to visit the Know Your Council website at www.knowyourcouncil.vic.gov.au

Planning permit turn-around times improving

Council received an encouraging report card through the Local Government Performance Reporting Framework results but there will always be areas we could be doing better in.

The community satisfaction survey released earlier this year showed turn-around times for planning permits was one such area that was not meeting community expectation.

Ever striving to improve its performance in areas facing challenges, in August Council employed a new statutory planner to help address the issue.

Since that time, planning permit turn-around times have improved greatly, shifting from a position where no planning permits were determined in June, to having 11 determined in August.

The positive trend continued in September with 63 per cent of 13 planning permit applications received being determined.

It’s satisfying to see the permit application turn-around time improving and pleasing to see an increasing number of residents demonstrating a desire to continue to invest in their communities.

Latest dairy and flood support information

The September and October floods and recent dairy industry changes are continuing to impact on a number of individuals and families within our communities.

Council has set up dairy and flood support web pages to help keep residents up date with assistance which may be available to them.

I would encourage individuals and families feeling the pinch of recent events to visit hhttp://www.loddon.vic.gov.au/Live/Health-and-wellbeing.

Council will add information and links to the pages as new information comes to light.

By subscribing to individual pages you will receive notification when updates are made.

Fire danger period declared

The CFA has declared the beginning of the Loddon Shire fire restriction season.

In broad terms, this means residents throughout our Shire are unable to light a fire in the open air without an appropriate permit from Council or the CFA.

This doesn’t mean you’re unable to enjoy throwing a snag on the barby, it just means it’s a good time to vigilantly check any restrictions which may apply to that barbecue during the danger period.

A good source of information is the “Can I or Can’t I” brochure which is available at www.cfa.vic.gov.au.

I would encourage residents to familiarise themselves with this brochure to help prepare themselves for fire restrictions, including total fire ban days.

It’s good to get into the routine of checking the fire danger rating which ranges from low-moderate to Code Red each day.

This can be readily achieved by keeping an eye on media reports, logging onto the CFA website or the VicEmergency app, which replaces FireReady app this fire season.

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