2018/19 Annual Report: How City of Ballarat is working to build a bigger, better and bolder Ballarat

Vital community facilities delivered, a successful election advocacy campaign and major action plans for Ballarat’s future are just some of highlights detailed in the 2018/19 City of Ballarat Annual Report.

The Annual Report provides an account of the City of Ballarat’s performance in the 2018/19 financial year against the 2017 – 2021 Council Plan and the City of Ballarat annual budget. It is designed to keep residents, businesses, employees, stakeholders and other Victorian and Australian Government agencies up-to-date on our performance and our future direction.

Key infrastructure projects delivered, and community facilities opened

2018/19 saw the delivery of significant infrastructure projects such as the Sebastopol Library Community Hub and Civic Hall redevelopment. Additionally, the refurbishment of Her Majesty’s Theatre, upgrade of Girrabanya Integrated Children’s Centre and construction of the Ballarat Sports Events Centre were all nearing completion at the close of the reporting year.

Successful advocacy and lobbying campaign

The City of Ballarat undertook a two-pronged approach to advocacy and lobbying ahead of the Victorian and Australian elections which led to successful funding outcomes for the city. Alongside lobbying for community projects with maximum benefit for residents, the City of Ballarat launched the Ballarat Now and into the Future campaign highlighting six transformational projects for the city’s future. A total of $170.3 million in funding commitments for Ballarat initiatives was made by the returned Victorian Government, while the Australian Government committed $10 million towards the Sovereign Hill Beyond 50 redevelopment.

Major action plans adopted

The Carbon Neutrality and 100% Renewables Action Plan 2019-2025 sets out a pathway for the City of Ballarat to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025.

The adoption of the Creative City Strategy and Creative Precinct Master Plan underlined Council’s commitment to helping Ballarat become one of Australia’s leading and sustainable creative cities.

The Gender Equity Action Plan launched in 2018 is focussed on addressing gender inequities in the workplace and further developing the City of Ballarat as a leader in gender equity within the Ballarat community.

Strong financial position

The 2018/19 Annual Report shows the City of Ballarat is in a robust financial position. A surplus of $69 million was recorded in the reporting year, allowing the City of Ballarat to fund a major capital works program of $61 million. The Annual Report shows the city has a strong balance sheet, with almost $1.7 billion of community assets under management and a working capital ratio (current assets against current liabilities) of 288 per cent.

Services delivered

The annual report details the more than 80 services which the City of Ballarat delivers throughout the year to residents such maternal and child health, parks and environment and festivals and events.

Other highlights included:

  • The successful delivery of a suite of major events such as Ballarat Begonia Festival, Ballarat Heritage Weekend and Ballarat Winter Festival in 2018/19.

  • The announcements that Ballarat would host a third White Night in 2019 and first for the first time, the Spilt Milk Music Festival.

  • The commencement of the Bakery Hill and Bridge Mall Precinct Urban Renewal Plan.

  • Investment of $1.8 million into 13 community facility upgrades as part of the Social Infrastructure program.

  • Securing $4.5 million through the Rural Councils Transformation program to develop a shared services model with Central Highlands councils to deliver better and more affordable services for 230,000 residents in the region.

  • The delivery and official opening of the Ballarat Paralympic Sports Avenue at Lake Wendouree, the first of its kind in regional Australia.

Matters of interest to the Ballarat community

Councillor expenses

The Annual Report includes a summary of councillor reimbursements during 2018/19 with a breakdown of travel expenses, car mileage, childcare, information and communication technology and conferences and training. The City of Ballarat reimburses councillors for expenses incurred while performing their duties as councillors.

Travel expenses includes travel, accommodation and similar expenses incurred by the Mayor and Councillors when performing their duties as required. This takes in local, interstate and international travel on behalf of Council. This also includes travel expenses related to attending meetings, representations, conferences and training.

2018/19 travel expenses included the Mayor’s attendance at the World League of Historical Cities Conference in Turkey in 2018 and as part of the same trip, visiting waste to energy facilities and world heritage sites in the UK and France. This year the Mayor also represented Ballarat at the 15th World Congress of the Organization of World Heritage Cities in Poland in support of the Central Goldfields region bid for UNESCO world heritage listing.

The City of Ballarat’s nation-leading work in conserving and celebrating Ballarat’s significant heritage offering in the context of a growing 21st century city was also recognised with an invitation to the Mayor to be a guest speaker at the Third Regional Conference of the Organisation of World Heritage Cities Asia-Pacific (OWHC-AP) in Suzhou, China, which was fully paid for by the organisers.

The Mayor also travelled to Canberra several times as part of the City of Ballarat’s robust advocacy and lobbying program.

Information and Communication (ICT) expenses listed in the 2018/19 Annual Report included the changing over of several councillors’ ICT devices which were due for replacement during 2018/19. These include laptops, phones, tablets and multiple phone services which allow the Councillors to keep in close contact with their community.

Key management salary information

The 2018/19 Annual Report, as part of the financial statement includes a summary of the amounts received by key management personnel of the City of Ballarat for the financial year, this includes members of the Council Leadership Team, the Mayor and Councillors. The table shows that six City of Ballarat key management received total salaries of more than $220,000 which is in line with similar regional cities and the local government sector more generally, one key management personnel received $100,000 and $109,000, and eight key management personnel received between $30,000 and $39,000.

Where to view the City of Ballarat 2018/19 Annual Report

The 2018/19 Annual Report can be found online at the City of Ballarat website. Hard copies of the Annual Report are also available at City of Ballarat Customer Service Centre at The Phoenix, and at the Ballarat Information Centre, Ballarat Town Hall. The Annual Report will be tabled at an ordinary meeting of City of Ballarat Council on 30 October.

Ballarat Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh: “I am proud to present this Annual Report for 2018/19. Among many highlights, the past year has seen the resolution of several long-term, complex projects, some of which have been on the Council’s agenda for more than a decade. Our next steps will be to continue to lobby for funding for an all waste interchange to deliver this integral component of an overall waste solution for Ballarat, and for funding for a Ballarat Airport upgrade. We will also finalise and begin to implement the Bakery Hill and Bridge Mall Precinct Urban Renewal Plan.”

City of Ballarat Chief Executive Officer Justine Linley said the annual report detailed how City of Ballarat continued to deliver on projects, strategies and services to build a bigger, better bolder Ballarat. 

“The adoption of both the Creative City Strategy and Creative Precinct Master Plan, informed by significant consultation with our creative sector, provided a framework for the future growth of Ballarat’s thriving creative economy.” 

“Our status as Victoria’s leading regional centre for events was further enhanced with the announcement Ballarat would host the Spilt Milk music festival in November 2019 at Victoria Park. This exciting festival adds to a vibrant, diverse and expanding Ballarat events calendar.”

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