Annual Report Summary 2020-21


The Annual Report 2020-21 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 2020-21 by Council’s seven themes included in the Council Plan 2017-21 and Boroondara Community Plan 2017-27.


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 2020-21 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 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.

A message from the Mayor | A message from the CEO

A message from the Mayor

Mayor of Boroondara, Cr Garry Thompson

It is with great pleasure that I present the City of Boroondara’s Annual Report 2020-21.

Although we continued to face collective challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, my fellow Councillors and I are proud of Council’s achievements despite much uncertainty this past reporting year.

Supporting our residents, local business, and community organisations during this crisis has remained our top priority as we work together towards recovery from the impacts of COVID-19. 

Through these trying times, we continued to deliver important services, projects and initiatives to meet the needs of our community as expressed in the Boroondara Community Plan - our key strategic document outlining the 10-year-vision for Boroondara based on what our community told us was most important to them. 

We invested a total of $75.68 million into community assets, with $5.5 million spent on our much-loved parks, open spaces and streetscapes and $8.4 million spent on enhancing community buildings. 

We reached significant milestones on a number of capital projects, including the commencement of construction at the new Kew Recreation Centre and Canterbury Community Precinct. We also completed the redevelopment of Camberwell Community Centre.
Alongside enhancements to community infrastructure, we have continued to invest in vital services to support our community. These investments include:

  • $9.5 million in aged, disability and health services, including the delivery of 60,151 hours of in-home care for people over the age of 65 and 20,477 immunisations to infants, children and adults in Boroondara.
  • $8.9 million in family and youth services, with 38 Council buildings leased for little or no cost to community organisations providing long day care, occasional care and kindergarten services.
  • $9.5 million in library services, providing a seven day per week virtual and in-person service across Boroondara resulting in 1.25 million loans over the past year. 

I am particularly proud of our ability to pivot and provide valuable services to our community despite the ongoing impacts of Victorian Government COVID-19 restrictions. The Boroondara Library Service offered a click and collect service, as well as a home delivery service, to ensure our residents maintained connections and could continue to enjoy our resources.

During the past year, we have diverted over 47,000 tonnes of waste from landfill thanks to our food organics and garden organics (FOGO) program. We delivered phase two of the FOGO service to multi-unit dwellings in October 2020, contributing to a landfill diversion rate of approximately 70 per cent on a month-to-month basis. This positions Boroondara as the top-performing municipality in waste diversion in Victoria.

We listened to the voices of our community, with hundreds sharing their ideas about the development of our Climate Action Plan. The draft Plan was presented for feedback in mid-2021, which will help guide our environmental sustainability commitments and actions over the next decade to help overcome the challenges of climate change.

Our community told us what was most important to them today in Boroondara to help renew our Boroondara Community Plan 2021-31. The new Plan which incorporates the 10-year Community Vision, Council Plan 2021-25 and Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2021-25 is expected to be endorsed by 30 October 2021, outlining Council’s priorities for the next 10-years. 

To our residents, ratepayers, volunteers, local traders and community organisations - on behalf of Council, I thank you for your continued support over the past year. As we enter a new Council term, I also sincerely thank all Councillors who served during the past four-year term for their contribution to the Boroondara community. 

I look forward to working together on our road to recovery over the year ahead.   

Cr Garry Thompson


A message from the CEO

Image of Philip Storer

As was the case during the release of the 2019-20 report, the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to impact the way we live, work, study and play in Boroondara. With this in mind, we have continued to prioritise and support the health and wellbeing of our community in accordance with our Boroondara Community Plan, Municipal Emergency Management Plan and Pandemic Plan.

The $4.5 million COVID-19 assistance package announced in April 2020 provided vital support for residents, businesses and community groups over the past year. We acknowledge that these times are tough, which is why ratepayers have also been able to seek assistance through Boroondara’s existing Financial Hardship Policy. 

Our COVID-19 hotline assisted in providing relief and referral services to residents in need, with 1402 calls received during the past reporting year. 

We delivered a comprehensive ‘Parklet and Outdoor Dining Program’ from late-2020, creating new opportunities for hospitality businesses to accommodate more customers in a COVIDSafe way. 

By fast-tracking applications for business to establish new and extended outdoor dining spaces on footpaths, private and public land, and temporary parklets in car parking bays, we encouraged foot traffic back into our local shopping precincts for the benefit of all Boroondara businesses and the broader community. 

Due to the program’s overwhelming popularity, plans to create a seasonal program are being explored.  

I am delighted to announce that we delivered 86.4% of our Annual Commitments over the past reporting year, which are guided by the priorities contained in the Boroondara Community Plan. 

As a Council, we remain dedicated to continually improving our service delivery wherever possible. That said, I am particularly proud of the fact City of Boroondara remains one of the top performing Councils in Victoria as measured in the Victorian Government’s state-wide Local Government Community Satisfaction Survey. 

Over the past reporting year, several of our services have now become available online, allowing our community to engage with us when they want, how they want. These enhancements were initiated based on feedback we received from our community.

We developed the Children and Young People Action Plan to help children in Boroondara grow into thriving, happy, and healthy adults. The Plan ensures we contribute to an environment where children and young people are valued, happy, healthy, safe and can actively participate in our community. 

It has been particularly rewarding to see the third iteration of Boroondara’s commitment to dealing with climate change. A new Climate Action Plan is well advanced to build upon the Our Low Carbon Future Strategies which preceded it. The community has been consulted and it is expected the plan will be adopted by Council prior to the end of October.

While it is important to celebrate all we’ve achieved over the past reporting year, it must be said that for the first time in its history, Council reported a net deficit. The net loss of $9.43 million for the 2020-21 reporting year was largely due to the impacts of COVID-19 on Council’s revenue and expenditure streams. While we are still amid the global pandemic, I am confident our 2021-22 Budget provides a clear and measured path to recovery.

I sincerely thank our Boroondara community and everyone who has helped us deliver the best outcomes possible. I also thank Council staff for their commitment and ongoing efforts to deliver Council’s diverse range of services, adapting to new working arrangements through multiple lockdowns and restrictions. 

I look forward to another year of working together to deliver for Boroondara. 

Phillip Storer

Chief Executive Officer

Your community, services and facilities

Strategic objective

Community services and facilities are high quality, inclusive and meet a variety of needs now and into the future.

Key figures

  • $45.1 million net operating cost
  • 190 Arts and Cultural community events delivered
  • 204 groups received Council community grants

Case study

Annual commitment

Commence construction of the Kew Recreation Centre to create a state-of-the-art recreation facility to meet current and future community needs.

Project overview

The Kew Recreation Centre (KRC) is currently undergoing a major redevelopment that will see it transform into a modern facility that is suitable for all ages, abilities, and caters to a wide range of health and wellbeing needs.

This project is Council’s biggest ever infrastructure project to date and a major project within the Council Budget, with support from the State Government.

Project aims

The old centre was in poor condition and no longer met community expectations nor catered for future demographic growth and needs due to its poor layout and functionality. 

The new centre aims to:

  • provide facilities to accommodate all ages, abilities and fitness levels
  • meet both the current and future needs of our growing community 
  • provide a wider range of options for improving health and wellbeing, and participating in team sports
  • provide greater opportunity for community interaction and socialisation.

Project outcomes

In-depth feasibility planning and community consultation has led to the development of a fun and engaging facility that will deliver what is important to our community. 

Throughout community consultation, we heard a lot of feedback about the desire for more spaces to cater to many different activities and user needs. As a result, the final design includes a: 

  • dedicated learn-to-swim pool
  • dedicated warm-water pool
  • indoor aqua play area
  • spa and sauna
  • new café area and landscaped forecourt
  • enlarged gym and indoor program spaces
  • crèche with outdoor play area
  • all abilities sensory room.

Relocating the building to make better use of the site has provided space to build two indoor sports courts, which are much needed in the area. Increased and undercover parking, improved change room offerings and a high standard of accessibility features throughout have also been included based on community feedback.

Construction commenced in November 2020 and is now well underway, with the project currently on track to be completed by mid-2023. Demolition, excavation and early foundation works have been completed, with the new structure to take shape over the next year.

Your parks and green spaces

Strategic objective

Inviting and well-used community parks and green spaces.

Key figures

  • $17 million net operating cost
  • 71,623 indigenous trees, shrubs, grasses and groundcovers planted during the year
  • 79% community satisfaction with appearance of public areas

Case study

Annual commitment

Design and deliver additional “dog friendly play areas” within existing parks and reserves to provide enhanced opportunities for social interaction for owners and their dogs. 

Project overview

Gordon Barnard Reserve fenced dog play area.

Fenced dog play areas have been growing in popularity. With increased pressure on the urban environment, they provide a space for dogs, and their owners, to socialise and exercise in a safe and controlled environment. 

While there is approximately 219 hectares of open space designated as off-leash in Boroondara, there were no fenced dog play areas specifically designed to cater for dogs and their owners.

In response to community requests and changing community needs, Council has provided a fenced dog play area in a portion of Gordon Barnard Reserve in Balwyn North.

Project aims

Gordon Barnard Reserve was identified as the preferred location following an extensive site assessment process and community consultation held in March 2020. The area aims to provide a dedicated, fully enclosed space where dog owners can exercise, play, train and socialise with their dogs in a secured off-leash environment. 

The project provides new activities, opportunities and experiences for people to enjoy the urban parklands with their dogs, while also providing infrastructure to support the general use of the reserve.

Project outcomes

Feedback received from the community during the three phases of consultation has helped guide the project:

  • Consultation on the proposed location: March 2020
  • Consultation to amend Council’s Order to establish the area as a designated, fenced dog off-leash area: August to September 2020
  • Consultation on the draft concept design: January to February 2021

The final design has been developed based on community feedback, dog park specialist advice and industry design guidelines.

The area provides new opportunities to contribute to happy, healthy, well socialised dogs, and provides a space for dog owners to exercise and socialise with other dog owners and their canine companions.

The Gordon Barnard Reserve fenced dog play area is supported by the Victorian Government - Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning through the Suburban Parks Program.

The environment

Strategic objective

Our natural environment is healthy and sustainable for future generations.

Key figures

  • $25.7 million net operating cost
  • 47,000 tonnes of waste diverted from landfill
  • 61 hectares of area of land managed for biodiversity

Case study

Annual commitment: Implement initiatives including Backyard Biodiversity project, Wildlife not Weeds program and rollout of interpretative signage to enhance and maintain urban biodiversity sites across the municipality.

Project overview

Council’s award winning Backyard Biodiversity Project has been running since 2010. The project encourages Boroondara residents to enhance a section of their garden with indigenous plants and other wildlife-friendly features to create invaluable spaces for our native wildlife.

 In 2021, the program commenced in May and continued into June, and provided a range of offerings for participants, including:

  • a series of workshops 
  • practical activities
  • personalised advice from a landscape designer, focusing on planting with indigenous plants
  • a tour of Victorian Indigenous Nurseries Co-operative (VINC)
  • a voucher for 20 free tubestock plants.

Project aims

The project aims to engage residents living near Boroondara’s biodiversity corridors, as well as across the municipality, to foster a love of the local environment and learn the skills to create a small habitat garden at home.

This year, the project had a particular focus on residents living near our Balwyn North Stepping Stone Corridor. This aimed to increase indigenous tree cover, shrubs, grasses and flowering plants in local gardens, providing links for wildlife in that area to travel safely onto creek corridors and the Yarra River.

Project outcomes

It is hoped that running the program in both targeted areas and across Boroondara will improve the connectivity of our habitat corridors, as well as provide all residents the opportunity to benefit and increase uptake of indigenous gardening more broadly.

Two sets of workshops were delivered, providing tailored advice and support to 14 households in the Balwyn North Stepping Stone Corridor, and 23 households across the wider municipality. By participating in the project, residents gained the skills they needed to create a wildlife-friendly garden at home, creating valuable stepping stones for our native wildlife. 

Neighbourhood character and heritage

Strategic objective

Protect the heritage and respect the character of the city to maintain amenity and liveability whilst recognising the need for appropriate, well-designed development for future generations.

Key figures

  • $4.9 million net operating cost
  • 638 planning applications were publicly advertised
  • 5,000 additional properties for heritage protection identified through the Municipal Wide Heritage Gap Study

Case study

Annual commitment

Protect the City’s heritage by continuing a municipal-wide heritage assessment of all properties not currently subject to a heritage overlay in Boroondara Planning Scheme.

Project overview

Council’s Municipal Wide Heritage Gap Study (MWHGS) aims to protect valued heritage places and precincts by including them in a Heritage Overlay control. Council continues to lead a proactive program of heritage assessments to identify and protect valued heritage places of local significance through the introduction of Heritage Overlays.

Council has been assessing dwellings, commercial buildings and public buildings in Boroondara not already protected by Heritage Overlays. Studies for Canterbury, Camberwell, Kew and Hawthorn were completed between 2016 and 2017. Hawthorn, Kew East and Mont Albert were completed in 2017 and 2018. Balwyn is the subject of separate studies.

Project aims

The Heritage Overlay is vital in enabling Council to protect heritage places of local significance.

Inclusion of properties and precincts in the Heritage Overlay triggers the need to obtain a planning permit from Council for demolition, alterations and additions and new buildings. This helps us to protect and retain our important history for future generations. 

Glen Iris and Ashburton heritage gap studies

During the 1920s and 1930s (interwar period), significant residential development in Glen Iris saw the emergence of California bungalows, Old English Revival, Spanish Mission, Mediterranean, Moderne and Art Deco styles. In Ashburton, there was also significant residential and commercial development during the interwar and early post-war periods. 

The seventh Municipal Wide Heritage Gap Study has been prepared for the suburb of Glen Iris.  The study proposes permanently including 15 individually significant places and four heritage precincts in Heritage Overlays. The amendment was exhibited during February and March 2021.  The Study has now been adopted and identifies properties and precincts to be of local heritage significance to have a heritage overlay under the Boroondara Planning Scheme. 

The eighth study to be prepared is for the suburb of Ashburton.  The study has been completed and proposes nine individual heritage places and two heritage precincts be added to Heritage Overlays.

Project outcomes

Council has carried out preliminary consultation with each study area including any affected property owners and occupiers of land nominated for inclusion in a Heritage Overlay. Planning Scheme amendments to introduce Heritage Overlays into the Boroondara Planning Scheme for Glen Iris and Ashburton are currently being progressed. 

The Municipal Wide Heritage Gap Study has identified approximately 5,000 additional properties for heritage protection across the municipality, together with 10,000 properties already included in Heritage Overlays. This is the third-highest number of properties protected by a municipality in Victoria.

As a result of the Municipal Wide Heritage Gap Study, the community will benefit from: 

  • identification and protection of all heritage places in Boroondara for current and future generations
  • places and precincts that demonstrate aesthetic, social or historical values important to Boroondara are protected
  • a stronger local identity and character.

For more information about how we are protecting and preserving the heritage of Boroondara, visit our Heritage page.

Getting around Boroondara

Strategic objectives

Travel options that are connected, safe, accessible, environmentally sustainable and well-designed.


Key figures

  • $1.8 million net operating cost
  • 95% of footpath defects remediated within timeframes specified in the Road Management Plan
  • 74% community satisfaction with sealed local roads

Case study

Annual commitment

Explore opportunities and implement actions to enhance wayfinding lighting on paths and shared paths to increase use and improve safety.

Project overview

Anniversary Trail missing link complete.

The Anniversary Trail is a popular trail for many by foot and bike within Boroondara. In April 2016, Council resolved to realign the Anniversary Trail between Riversdale Road and Prospect Hill Road at Riversdale Park, Camberwell. In order to achieve this, Council had to seek approval from the Department of Education and Training and the Minister for Education for the exchange of land required to realign the trail and complete the missing link. 

Significant works including the relocation of the existing car park to the western section of Riversdale Park were also required. The works were implemented in two stages to minimise disruption to the surrounding community.  

Project aims

The aim of creating this link was to improve the level of safety and access for cyclists and pedestrians by avoiding the on road section of the previous trail and allowing for a continuous 12km off road path for cyclists and pedestrians.

Project outcomes

This new shared path was completed in October 2020 and now provides a family-friendly off-road access route for cyclists and pedestrians of all ages to enjoy.
The works undertaken included:

  • Construction of a new 3.0m wide shared path between the rear of Spencer Road properties and the East Camberwell Tennis Club and Camberwell High School.
  • Widening and reconstruction of the existing shared path in Riversdale Park to current standards.
  • A pedestrian path for tennis club patrons next to the new shared path separated by a new tennis club boundary fence.
  • Relocation of the existing car park in Riversdale Park further west and replacement of the existing car park with open space.
  • Closing of the existing vehicle access point at the Spencer Road / Riversdale Road intersection to vehicular traffic and construction of a new vehicle access further north in Spencer Road.
  • Removal of vegetation and trees and new plantings and landscaping to supplement.  
  • Energy-efficient LED lighting along the shared path and the car park.
  • Shared path line marking and signage.
  • Upgrading the existing rear property fences for Spencer Road residents adjacent to the new shared path in line.

Your local shops and businesses

Strategic objectives

A vibrant local economy and shops that are accessible, attractive and a centre of community life.

Key figures

  • $1.3 million net operating cost
  • 1,542 participants in Council’s business training activities
  • 1,257 proactive strip shopping centre maintenance inspections completed

Case study

Annual commitment

Implement a Placemaking approach in the Glenferrie and Maling Road precincts to shape and design our public spaces and shopping centres, to increase social interaction, economic viability and enhance the health and wellbeing of our community.

Project overview

Glenferrie Placemaking project

We are embarking on a new way of improving our public places in Boroondara - Placemaking. It involves listening carefully to the needs and aspirations of our local communities and responding with projects to enhance the vibrancy and economic viability of our centres, create opportunities for social connections and improve our community’s health and wellbeing. 

A placemaking framework has been developed to support current and future opportunities to improve our public spaces in partnership with local communities. A placemaking project to revitalise Glenferrie Road in Hawthorn is currently underway, and we are exploring future opportunities for the precinct by developing a dedicated draft Place Plan.

Project aims

The draft Glenferrie Place Plan will be the guiding document for the future of the precinct, setting out key initiatives to achieve the community’s vision for the area.

Glenferrie will be a vibrant and accessible place where everyone feels welcome. The streets and public spaces will offer more greenery and opportunities for people to meet, shop, learn and hold events. The local economy and community will flourish, with people and businesses representing the area’s rich diversity.

Project outcomes

In early 2020, over 1,100 people shared their ideas and blue-sky thinking to enhance the Glenferrie Road precinct. The results of this consultation helped shape the Glenferrie Road Place Vision - a document that brings together a collective vision for the future of the precinct to guide Council’s efforts in creating a place that is vibrant and welcoming. It served as the first step in developing a comprehensive plan for the future of Glenferrie Road.

In August and September 2020, more than 700 people helped to prioritise key opportunities to improve the precinct via an online survey and interactive online workshops. The feedback from both stages of consultation will inform the future draft Glenferrie Road Place Plan - a document full of projects and initiatives to revitalise the precinct now and into the future. The draft Plan is expected to be delivered in 2021-2022.

Civil leadership and governance

Strategic objective

Ensure that ethical, financial and socially responsible decision-making reflects community needs and is based on principles of accountability, transparency, responsiveness and consultation.

Key figures

  • $39.2 million net operating cost  
  • 423 properties inspected in the Fire Prevention Program
  • 75% satisfaction with customer service

Case study

Annual commitment

Undertake consultation for the review and refresh of the Boroondara Community Plan 2021-2031 incorporating the Council Plan 2021-25 and Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2021-25, to assist Council to deliver on priorities most important to the community.

Project overview

The Boroondara Community Plan is our key strategic document which outlines what the community values most in the City of Boroondara, and demonstrates how Council will practically bring our community’s vision to life. Our plans, processes, strategies, budget decisions and operational actions are informed by this Plan to ensure we’re delivering what is important for those that live, work, study and play in Boroondara. 

The 10-year Plan was initially developed in 2017, informed by 11,845 responses received during community consultation - Council’s largest consultation activity to date. Throughout 2020-21, we began the process of renewing the Boroondara Community Plan to ensure it reflects the current needs and aspirations of our community.

Project aims

Every four years, Council is legislatively required to work with the community to update our 10-year vision under the Local Government Act 2020. The Act requires all Victorian councils to work with the community to develop or update a long-term vision by October 2021 through deliberative engagement practices. It also fulfills our commitment we made in 2017 to ‘keep in touch with the community’. By using some of the questions from the initial consultation for the development of the Boroondara Community Plan, we established benchmarks to compare the community’s needs and aspirations each time the Plan is reviewed in line with the new Council term.

Consulting with our community through a large-scale survey in December and January, followed by deliberative workshops in March and April, is consistent with the consultation method undertaken to develop the Boroondara Community Plan in 2016-17.

Project outcomes

In December and January, more than 4,700 people told us what’s most important to them during Stage 1 consultation. People had their say via Engage Boroondara, our new online engagement platform.

In March and April, over 200 people representative of Boroondara’s diverse community participated in a series of workshops. During the workshops, participants considered the findings from stage 1 of consultation, as well a range of issues, to help guide decisions about where Council should focus its resources in both the medium and long term.

This deliberative engagement process allowed us to collect robust information to inform the update of the Boroondara Community Plan. The findings showed us the seven priority themes that emerged in 2017 are still relevant to our community, with some more important than ever.

The draft Plan is expected to be released for public comment in September 2021, with the final Plan expected to be presented to Council in late-October 2021 for consideration and endorsement.

During 2020-21, Council delivered the following services for every $100 that they spent:

Where your rates go Actual 2020-21
Capital works $22.50
Environment and waste management $12.97
Parks, gardens and sportsgrounds $9.98
Aged and disability services $4.29
Health, community and family services $5.45
Roads and footpaths $3.00
Planning and building services $5.00
Library services $6.10
Local laws enforcement $4.24
Culture, leisure and recreation facilities $1.91
Engineering and traffic $2.08
Priority projects $9.53
Communications and customer service $4.71
Rates and property services $1.32
Safety and drainage $1.22
Economic development $0.54
Civic centres and citizenship ceremonies $0.16
Total $100