Annual Report Summary 2017-18


The Annual Report 2017-18 details the performance of the City of Boroondara during the financial year.

Our vision is for a vibrant and inclusive city, meeting the needs and aspirations of its community.

This Annual Report Summary highlights the key achievements and challenges of 2017-18 by Council’s five Themes included in the Council Plan 2017-21 adopted in June 2017.


Feedback on this document is welcome. Please email [email protected] or write to City of Boroondara, Private Bag 1, Camberwell VIC 3124.


Council would like to thank all those who contributed to the development of the 2017-18 Annual Report.

More information

For a copy of the Annual Report summary or past Annual Reports, please call Customer Service on (03) 9278 4444.

The City of Boroondara’s Annual Report 2017-18 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.

Message from the Mayor | Message from the CEO 

A message from the Mayor 

Councillor Jim Parke

Councillor Jim Parke 

My fellow Councillors and I work alongside the organisation and our community to lead the strategic direction for the City of Boroondara and I am proud to present the Annual Report 2017-18 as a summary of the work we have accomplished over the past year.

With a growing City, and the challenges this brings, it is vital we properly plan for our City’s future, making decisions with the long-term interests of our community in mind. 

So this year we invested more than $61.62 million in renewed and new facilities and infrastructure, including $6.12 million on our parks, open spaces and streetscapes and $32.84 million on community buildings.

We completed the redevelopment of the Balwyn Library so it now includes additional casual reading and study areas, a large community meeting room, an improved layout allowing better access to the collection, and better technology.

We delivered the new $17.2 million Greythorn Community Hub, providing much-needed services and programs to the local community.

We planned the redevelopment of Balwyn Community Centre, designing a space that will allow for early years services and recreational activities, and learning programs for all ages. Construction will begin in 2018, with the centre due for completion in 2019.

Also this year, in collaboration with the local community, we completed designs for a new communal food growing and sharing hub for local residents on land adjacent to Earl Street, Kew with construction set to begin in 2018-19. 

On top of all these exciting infrastructure projects, we have continued to deliver the services which benefit our whole community to a high standard. These include:

  • $7.28 million spent on library services providing a seven day a week service across the City – with more than 1 million visits and nearly 2.3 million loans last year. 
  • $2.69 million spent on aged, disability and health services, such as immunisation, aged care and disability support for vulnerable members of our community, and delivering almost 80,000 hours of in-home care for the elderly and people with a disability, and more than 30,000 immunisations to infants and children across Boroondara. 
  • $3.14 million spent on families and youth services. We also lease 38 buildings at little or no cost to community organisations providing long day care, occasional care and kindergarten services. 
  • Collecting 69,559 tonnes of waste from kerbside bins.

Working with the Boroondara community is a privilege. All we have achieved this year has been with the support and partnerships of our residents, local businesses, community groups and Council staff and I would like to thank everyone who has made a contribution towards delivering Council’s vision over the past year. 

I look forward to continuing to work with you all in the year ahead.

Cr Jim Parke 

A message from the CEO 

Phillip Storer

Phillip Storer - Chief Executive Officer

I am pleased to present Council’s Annual Report for 2017-18 financial year.

This report details how we met our objectives and commitments in the Council Plan 2017-21 and Budget 2017-18. It provides accountability to our community and it allows us to reflect on our performance; where we have succeeded and where we may need to improve.
Importantly, I am pleased to confirm Council completed 100 per cent of our Annual commitments and our financial position continues to remain sound. 

The annual state-wide Local Government Community Satisfaction Survey rated Boroondara, yet again, as one of the top performing Councils across the state. While we are proud of this result we are always looking for ways we can improve. 

We have continued to focus on delivering a better customer experience for our community to ensure your interactions with us are as easy and accessible as possible. Our goal is to ensure you have choice, and are able to access the information, help and services you need without having to take time out of your busy day to call or come into Council offices. 

To achieve this we have continued to make improvements to the design and information on our website and continued our roll out of online forms with great success. In fact more than 30,000 online forms were completed in 2017-18 with 93 per cent of users who provided feedback rating them ‘Very easy’ or ‘Easy’ to complete.

Ensuring all members of our community benefit from our customer experience improvements is vital and I’m proud to say our website has achieved accessibility certification from Vision Australia.

Council has an important role to play in minimising Boroondara’s impact on the environment. We developed and adopted the Waste Minimisation and Recycling Strategy 2017 to provide a strategic approach to sustainable waste management over the next five years. Our vision is to continue to provide more efficient and effective waste services while further reducing waste sent to landfill.

We are also aiming to be able to receive and assess all planning applications digitally, removing paper from all application, enforcement and appeal services provided by Council by the end of the 2018-19 financial year. As well as time and cost savings, a paperless process will allow customers to submit applications online.

We are undertaking a Council-wide project, in partnership with four of our neighbouring councils, to provide $2.5 million of energy efficiency upgrades at our four largest buildings. These upgrades are guaranteed to pay for themselves in less than 10 years through reduced energy bills and maintenance.

Following community consultation in 2016-17, Council adopted the Tree Strategy 2017-27 which plans for the health and sustainability of the approximately 130,000 trees on Council-managed land to ensure we protect and grow our urban forest.

We know that protecting the character of the local neighbourhoods is important to you. This year, Council has continued our assessment of properties across Boroondara to identify and protect valued heritage places of local significance through the introduction of heritage controls.

Our ability to meet community needs is significantly enhanced by the enthusiasm and engagement of our community. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the community for their support and input into the work of Council. 

Thank you also to the dedicated employees at Council for their commitment and hard work in delivering a diverse range of services and infrastructure. I look forward to working with you all in the year ahead to keep delivering for Boroondara.
Phil Storer

Strong and engaged communities

Strategic objectives

  • Our community has a say in matters of interest to them in achieving Boroondara’s vision.
  • Community needs are identified and responses planned accordingly.
  • Opportunities are provided to enable people in our community to be supported and involved.

Key figures

  • $21.9 million net operating cost
  • 87 groups received Council community grants
  • 2.3 million library items borrowed


    Boroondara Community Plan

    The Boroondara Community Plan 2017-27 sets the long-term strategic directions for Council and informs the Council Plan, including the Strategic Resource Plan, annual commitments and strategic indicators, the Municipal Strategic Statement, and Council strategies, plans, policies and actions.

    The Boroondara Community Plan was adopted by Council on 11 December 2017 and officially launched to the community on Sunday 4 March 2018 at the Boroondara Village Festival. In 2017-18 Council produced the revised 2018-19 Budget and revised Council Plan 2017-21, aligning these to the structure of the Boroondara Community Plan. Refer page 18 for further information on the Boroondara Community Plan 2017-27. 

    Access to Civic Art Collection

    Opportunities to enhance access to the Town Hall Gallery Collection by the community have continued throughout the year. The renewed information architecture of the Boroondara Arts website has improved visibility and access to the Collection information.

    This project resulted from benchmarking of museum and art collection databases, and provides for an enriched customer experience as well as strong governance of Council's art collection. The Town Hall Gallery presented 19 exhibitions during the year attracting more than 7,000 visitors.

    Summary of other achievements 

    • Continued to work with residents and community groups on several advocacy campaigns during the year, including the North East Link, the Markham Estate redevelopment in Ashburton and the Bill Street public housing redevelopment in Hawthorn.
    • Officially opened the Hawthorn University of the Third Age (Hawthorn U3A), delivering a multipurpose facility dedicated to the ethos of lifelong learning.
    • Hosted a community safety forum in October 2017 to celebrate Community Safety month.
    • Held the Inaugural Dance Affair: a cultural development project which engaged eight community organisations.


    • Responding to the Australian Government Aged Care and Disability Services Reforms. Council officers continue to monitor and respond to the changes being introduced by the Australian Government in the Aged Care and Disability Services sector.
    • The evolving Australian retail environment, particularly with regard to the growth of the online retail sector continues to place significant pressure on Boroondara’s shopping centres. 


    Sustainable environment

    Strategic objective

    • Our natural and urban environment is improved in a sustainable way.

    Key figures

    • $30.7 million net operating cost  
    • 82,574 indigenous trees, shrubs, grasses and groundcovers planted during the year
    • 69,559 tonnes of waste collected from kerbside bins


    Waste Minimisation and Recycling Strategy

    Council developed and adopted the Waste Minimisation and Recycling Strategy 2017 to provide the strategic direction and an implementation approach for sustainable waste management over the next five years.

    The vision defining the strategy is to continue to provide more efficient and effective waste services and further reduce waste sent to landfill. The primary action for the strategy is to divert food waste from the landfill waste stream to the green organics waste processing stream. 

    Community garden in Kew 

    Design has been completed for a communal food growing and sharing hub for local residents on land adjacent to Earl Street, Kew. Urban agriculture facilitators and a working group of passionate local residents have collaborated with Council to develop the vision and objectives for the community garden.

    The project aims to create an inclusive and nurturing space, committed to the principles of sustainability around growing and sharing food. Construction of the community garden is scheduled to occur during the 2018-19 financial year.

    Summary of other achievements 

    • Developed and adopted the Tree Strategy 2017.
    • Reviewed the Tree Management Guidelines.
    • Completed approximately $1.1 million in energy efficiency upgrades.
    • Reviewed Council’s renewal practices for Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) treatments in open spaces.


    • As our City's population grows we have experienced increased pressure for quality public open spaces that meet a wide range of community needs. It has been an ongoing challenge to creatively redesign spaces such as parks and streetscapes to meet these needs without compromising existing community values.



    Enhanced amenity

    Strategic objective

    • Facilitate the process of urban renewal throughout the City to enhance amenity by efficient and effective permit issuing administration.

    Key figures

    • ($1.7) million net operating cost  
    • 1,421 new planning applications received


    Municipal Wide Heritage Gap Study 

    Council has continued the assessment of all properties across the municipality to identify and protect valued heritage places of local significance through the introduction of heritage controls.

    The study is underway with the Canterbury Heritage Gap Study Panel hearing conducted, the Camberwell Heritage Gap Study Panel appointed, the Kew East Heritage Gap Assessment preliminary consultation completed and the Balwyn Heritage Peer Review Panel appointed.

    Paperless Office Project

    Council has continued progress on the Paperless Office Project during 2017-18. The Paperless Office project will enable Statutory Planning to receive and assess all planning applications digitally by the end of the 2018-19 financial year.

    The project involves removing paper from all application, enforcement and appeal services provided by Council. The planning enquiry and Tree Local Law application processes have now been made fully digital. Bluebeam Revu software was introduced in May 2018, enabling officers to assess and endorse plans electronically. 

    Summary of other achievements 

    • Developed a building inspection and communication strategy for Rooming House Operators.
    • Developed and adopted the Domestic Animal Management Plan 2017-21.
    • Completed a study of the changes to tree canopy cover over time for the municipality.


    • An increase in major construction developments in most cases simultaneously, within the municipality has meant a greater focus was required in ensuring developers manage their construction to minimise the impacts to the community.



    Quality facilities and assets

    Strategic objective

    • The community's current and future needs for assets and facilities are proactively managed. 

    Key figures

    • $19.7 million net operating cost  
    • 2.57 million visits to Boroondara's leisure and aquatic centres
    • 563 kilometres of local roads


    Balwyn Library Redevelopment

    The redevelopment of the Balwyn Library is complete and was officially opened to the community on Wednesday 4 April 2018. 

    The striking building has received upgrade works including additional casual reading and study areas, a large community meeting room, an improved layout allowing better access to the collection, and better technology. Other improvements to the library include increased natural light, more comfortable furniture and a separate quiet study area. 

    The redevelopment brings new life to this popular community hub where people have been meeting, reading and studying since 1978.

    Greythorn Community Hub (formerly the North East Community Hub)

    The North East Community Hub Redevelopment was completed and is set to be formally opened as the Greythorn Community Hub. The new $17.2 million Greythorn Community Hub reached practical completion in June 2018. The project offers a range of much-needed community services and programs in this part of Boroondara. The Australian Government has provided a $3.2 million grant towards the project construction and the North Balwyn Returned Services League (RSL) has provided the land to Council on a long-term lease. 

    The facility was formally opened on Saturday 1 September 2018. The Hub will have a range of features including Trentwood at the Hub (a neighbourhood house); Greythorn Library Lounge; Greythorn Maternal and Child Health (MCH) centre; Greythorn Early Childhood Centre; the North Balwyn RSL Sub-Branch; and access to community support and wellbeing services. 

    Summary of other achievements 

    • Completed the upgrade to asset management systems (Conquest III and Conquest Mobile), providing multiple functionality improvements to improve efficiency and data quality, removing inefficient workarounds, and enabling future efficiency improvements to works management processes.
    • Replaced playgrounds at Foley Reserve Hawthorn, Hull Street Hawthorn, King Street Chain Balwyn North, Warburton Reserve Camberwell, Warner Reserve Ashburton and Willison Reserve Camberwell, as part of the Playground Replacement Program.
    • Completed the design for the redevelopment of the Balwyn Community Centre.
    • Completed the shopping centre improvement works at Peate Avenue Camberwell, Church Street Hawthorn, Glenferrie Hill Hawthorn and Fordham Avenue Camberwell.


    • Recognising and responding to the changing role of shopping centres as not only places to shop but also as community meeting places and work spaces which are integral to sustaining neighbourhood life.
    • Council delivers a significant number of projects per annum and invariably some projects incur contract disputes, unforeseen variations, and adverse weather and design/planning delays.




    Responsible management

    Strategic objectives

    • Decision-making in the delivery of high quality services by capable and professional people reflects transparent, accountable and fair practices.
    • Sound financial and risk management practices are carried out.


    Key figures

    • $25.3 million net operating cost  

    • 153,080 phone calls and 115,835 online requests 
    • 77,200 rateable properties

    Website improvements

    A number of improvements have been made to ensure continued provision of the Boroondara website in a manner that is accessible and customer focused. These include the achievement of accessibility certification from Vision Australia, confirming compliance with global standard WCAG 2.0 level AA and development of 16 planning and building content guides to support customers to navigate the complex building and planning regulations.
    The centralisation of our website introduced tighter governance and quality control over published content. An audit of 125 of the most visited pages on the website since its launch in May 2017 achieved an average quality score of 94 per cent. During the year, customers completed over 30,000 eForms. Ninety three percent of customers who left feedback on eForms rated them as ‘Very easy’ or ‘Easy’ to use.


    Council continued to work with residents and community groups on several advocacy campaigns during the year, including the North East Link, the Markham Estate redevelopment in Ashburton and the Bill Street public housing redevelopment in Hawthorn.

    Summary of other achievements 

    • Implemented new software (Doc Assembler) for the generation of Council and Committee business papers.
    • Compiled the Council response to the Local Government Exposure Draft Bill to inform the final draft legislation before the Government reviews it to present to the Victorian Parliament.
    • Extended the funding agreement for Camcare to continue providing community services to Boroondara residents in need of support.
    • Developed and adopted the Budget 2018-19 document in accordance with the Victorian Local Government Model Budget and aligned its structure to the Boroondara Community Plan 2017-27.
    • Implemented Single Touch payroll systems in compliance with the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
    • Enabled online accessibility of the nomination form for Citizen and Young Citizen of the Year, to make the nomination process more convenient for the community.


    • The transition to a paperless office has required the building of hybrid systems, adding to time frames as officers have had to develop and learn these temporary processes.





    Council's financial position continues to remain sound. A summary of our performance is outlined below, while detailed information is included within the Financial Statements and Performance Statement sections of the Annual Report 2017-18. 

    Operating position

    Council achieved a surplus of $39.39 million in 2017-18. This surplus compares favourably

    to the original budget surplus of $26.90 million. The favourable variance is primarily due to higher than budgeted monetary contributions of $1.67 million (mainly open space), statutory fees and fines of $1.92 million and early receipt of the 2018-19 Victoria Grants Commission grant allocation of $2.26 million. In addition, there were savings in other expenditure of $1.04 million, employee costs of $2.50 million and materials and services of $2.82 million, offset by a loss on disposal of property, infrastructure, plant and equipment of $2.19 million.

    The adjusted underlying surplus of Council – after removing non-recurrent capital grant income, monetary contributions and non-monetary asset contributions – is $28.85 million. Sustaining a surplus underlying result is a necessary financial strategy in order to fund the renewal, upgrade and new asset programs for the $3.81 billion net community assets under our control, as well as providing capacity to meet our loan repayments.

    Financial expenditure

    During 2017-18, Council delivered the following services for every $100 that they spent:

    Where your rates go 2017-18 actual
    Capital Works and Priority Projects $32.15 
    Environment and Waste Management $13.04 
    Parks, Gardens and Sportsgrounds $9.96
    Health, Aged Community and Family Services $11.86
    Roads, Footpaths, Safety and Drainage $5.14
    Planning and Building $5.82
    Library, Arts and Cultural Services $7.27
    Local Laws Enforcement $5.58
    Leisure and Recreation and Civic Centres $2.09
    Engineering and Traffic $2.37
    Communications and Customer Service $2.17
    Rates and Property Services $2.02
    Economic Development $0.53

    Note: Includes an allocation of corporate services, governance, risk management, building maintenance and public lighting across these service areas. Excludes operating expenditure for five externally managed recreation centres.

    Opening community centres

    Investing in our libraries


    Improving parks and playgrounds