The City of Boroondara’s Annual Report 2019-20 highlights the achievements and challenges of the past year. It reports on how we are meeting the strategic objectives set out in the Council Plan 2017-21.
It is with great pleasure I present the Annual Report 2019-20 for Boroondara. This report marks the final year of the current Council’s term, which commenced in October 2016.
The 2019-20 reporting year has been a significant one. Our work has focused on delivering projects that reflect your priorities as outlined in the Boroondara Community Plan, our 10-year vision for the future of Boroondara, while responding to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Residents, local business and community organisations are facing difficult circumstances as a result of COVID-19, and it has been our responsibility to provide support during these times of crisis. To this end, Council announced a $4.5 million relief package in April 2020.
Despite the challenges we’ve faced due to COVID-19, we have continued to deliver projects which respond to each of the seven priority themes outlined in the Boroondara Community Plan.
We have continued to invest in community assets, with more than $63.95 million committed to infrastructure projects throughout our municipality. Of this, we invested $9.08 million on our much loved parks, open spaces and streetscapes and $27.64 million in enhancing community buildings so they meet the needs of our residents, now and into the future.
In 2020, upgrades to the Balwyn Community Centre were completed. The centre was upgraded to meet the needs of the growing and increasingly diverse population and include enhanced functional spaces for community programs and groups, an expanded Balwyn Maternal and Child Health Centre, and enhanced parklands and community gardens.
The Kew Recreation Centre is undergoing a major transformation to better meet the current and future needs of our community. It will provide opportunity for people of all abilities and stages of life to pursue a wide range of health and wellbeing needs. The innovative design responds to feedback received from over 2,000 people and will include an underground car park and be built to be energy efficient and environmentally friendly. The $68 million project is expected to be completed in 2022.
The Ashburton Seniors Centre and Camberwell Community Centre have also undergone major redevelopments to better meet the needs of our community. The Ashburton Seniors Centre is now complete and the Camberwell Community Centre to be completed in 2020-21.
In May, Council introduced a new Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) kerbside collection service. The service enables residents to put both food and garden waste in the same bin, reducing the quantity of waste going to landfill. Residents are now diverting more than 200 tonnes of food waste from landfill per week by putting it into their FOGO bin. This amount is only expected to increase as more residents adjust to the new system and properties, which includes residential blocks that have between 4 to 15 units on them, commence the service.
Council continued to advocate for the needs of the Boroondara community in relation to the North East Link project - the proposed freeway linking the Metropolitan Ring Road (M80) to the Eastern Freeway at Bulleen Road.
We will continue to advocate on behalf of our community to minimise the adverse impacts on our community as a result of this project.
It is important as well to highlight the many vital services that we deliver for our whole community. These include:
- $8.40 million spent on library services providing a seven day per week service across the City, with more than 79,000 visits and nearly 1.85 million loans last year.
- $4.62 million spent on aged, disability and health services, including the delivery of 59,823 hours of in-home care for the elderly and those with a disability, and 20,972 immunisations to infants and children across Boroondara.
- $4.50 million spent on family and youth services, with 38 buildings also leased to community organisations providing long day care, occasional care and kindergarten services at little or no cost.
- Collecting 71,669 tonnes of waste from kerbside bins.
All of these great achievements and everyday service delivery cannot occur without our staff, and the support and partnership of our residents, community groups and local businesses.
On behalf of my fellow Councillors, I would like to thank everyone in the Boroondara, our wonderful volunteers, community and business leaders, friends and neighbours, for your ongoing contributions, be they big or small, to ensuring Boroondara continues to thrive as the City of Harmony.
Cr Cynthia Watson
I am proud to present the 2019-20 Annual Report to the City of Boroondara community.
This year has presented us with ongoing challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To support and protect the health and wellbeing of our community, we activated various relief and recovery responses in line with our Municipal Emergency Management Plan and Pandemic Plan.
A $4.5 million financial assistance package was developed to provide tangible support to residents, businesses and community groups experiencing the impacts of COVID-19. This package contains a range of initiatives, including the waiver of food premises registration fees, footpath trading fees and trader parking permit fees. Ratepayers are also able to seek assistance through Boroondara’s existing Financial Hardship Policy.
Council established various other support initiatives like our COVID-19 hotline, a dedicated hub on Council’s website to inform the community about support and changes to our services, and more.
Even during challenging times, we’ve continued to work hard on delivering what you told us was important to you through the Boroondara Community Plan.
Annual commitments are developed each year for delivery, underpinned by the priority themes you identified in the Boroondara Community Plan. I can report we met 84 per cent of our Annual Commitments this year, with a number of planned initiatives impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions, and our financial position continues to remain sound.
Council achieved a surplus of $12.25 million in 2019-20. This surplus compares unfavourably to the original budget surplus of $15.76 million, however the difference can be attributed to revenue reductions and some expense impacts associated with COVID-19.
The adjusted underlying surplus of Council – after removing non-recurrent capital grant income, monetary contributions and non-monetary asset contributions – is $5.05 million. This helps us fund the renewal, upgrade and new asset programs for the $3.56 billion net community assets under our control.
The annual state-wide Local Government Community Satisfaction Survey rated Boroondara as one of the top performing Councils across the state. I am pleased to share that City of Boroondara outperformed both state-wide and metropolitan group averages on overall Council performance.
We have continued to focus on delivering the Boroondara Customer First program to ensure your interactions with us are as easy and accessible as possible. Achievements to date include expanded payment options for Council services and infringements, making it easier and more convenient for customers to pay 24/7 on the device of their choice. We have also built new online service forms making it easier for you to make payments and applications, and to contact Council to report issues and request various services.
To maintain our ongoing commitment to supporting our ageing population, we have developed a new healthy ageing plan, ‘Add life to your years’. The Plan was developed to contribute positively towards physical and social environments that support older people’s health, wellbeing and capacity, as well as to connect them with the broader community.
To ensure our sporting pavilions provide a more inclusive environment enabling increased participation in sport, Council has allocated $9.40 million to upgrade these facilities over a three year implementation period. By June 2022, we are aiming to upgrade 15 of Council’s 39 sporting pavilions to be accessible and welcoming to all. Remaining sporting pavilions will be prioritised annually in line with Council’s Pavilion Policy for renewals or upgrades based on building condition, functionality and service assessments.
We are embarking on a new way of improving our public places in Boroondara through a placemaking approach. This approach will help us to design public spaces and shopping centres in a way that increases social interaction, improves economic viability and enhances liveability.
Throughout this report you will see number of other achievements and community infrastructure initiatives undertaken during the year. These achievements would not be possible without the help of our engaged, enthusiastic community. On behalf of Council, I’d like to thank you for your ongoing support and feedback which shapes the important work we do every day.
I’d also like to thank our dedicated Council staff whose contributions and continued hard work allow us to deliver the services and infrastructure our community needs and deserves.
I look forward to another year of working together to deliver for Boroondara.
Chief Executive Officer