Colac Otway community satisfaction survey
Results from the 2019 Colac Otway annual community satisfaction survey have been released identifying either consistent or higher performance on core measures from last year.
Colac Otway Shire achieved an overall performance index score of 57 which represented a two-point improvement on last year.
The overall performance score is one point higher than the average for large rural councils, however is four points lower than the state-wide average.
Decisions made in the interest of the community was another core performance measure which had improved.
CEO of Colac Otway Shire Council Peter Brown said it was encouraging to see Council making progress in key areas and was focused on service reviews which identified where and how improvements would be delivered.
Mr Brown said the survey consisted of seven compulsory questions about core services and 16 optional questions to help assess satisfaction for more specific individual services.
“The rating of Council’s elderly support services was 69, up by 1 from last year and higher than the state-wide average and also the average for large rural councils,” he said.
“This is a credit to the Older Persons and Ability Support Services team who do a fantastic job in caring for the older members of our community.
“Council also scored well compared to the state and large rural council average in service areas of emergency and disaster management and recreational facilities.
“Recreation facilities are important to many members of the community in Colac Otway Shire, so it’s pleasing the community is satisfied with the financial commitment and advocacy work Council have put in to local recreation priorities such as securing Federal and State Government funding to complete the Central Reserve Master Plan.
“There was also State Government and Council funding plus an AFL Victoria grant toward ground and light upgrades at Colac’s Western Reserve and $320,000 from the Federal Government for upgrades to the Colac Regional Velodrome at Elliminyt.
“Improvements to local sporting facilities have a flow on effect as they’re used by communities and sporting clubs throughout the shire, it also means some sports, such as the local women’s football league, have facilities for women to play football locally rather than travelling out of the shire.
“It’s encouraging to see we’re making progress in some of these key areas and we can also use the results to look at areas where we need to improve to meet the community’s expectations,” Mr Brown said.
“For example the survey has informed us that the Colac community has a more favourable impression of Council compared to Apollo Bay.
“Council has been working hard to build on relationships already held with groups and community members in our coastal towns. We are proud of successfully advocating for funding for various important projects on the Colac Otway coast.
“This has included $12 million for the redevelopment of the Apollo Bay Harbour as part of the Geelong City Deal, along with $5 million to fund a walking trail linking Apollo Bay and Skenes Creek and $1.9-million toward much-needed infrastructure at Kennett River.
“Council has also been working with the community in preparing the Tourism Parking and Traffic Strategy, which was adopted by Council in June, finalising the project.
“We hope our commitment toward these significant coastal projects will result in greater community satisfaction from these communities over the coming months.”
Mr Brown said the score for planning and building permits, which hadn’t changed from the 2018 survey, continued to be influenced by community members’ perceptions that the process took too long.
“Council have acknowledged Planning and Building as an area our community wants to see improvements made; we have been working toward an electronic application system which will save time for the applicant across the whole planning process enabling staff to be able to assess and approve permits and plans electronically.
“Council’s planning and IT teams are also working toward the introduction of new web portal that will allow people to check the status of their planning applications online without having to call or wait for notification.
“We’ve met twice with local stakeholders who regularly deal with Council’s Planning and Building department including representatives from the real estate sector, planners, developers and builders.
“We’re engaging with these key contacts to gather their feedback and keep working on what Council can do better.
Mr Brown said the annual survey process provided valuable benchmarking for Council to lift community satisfaction levels and drive improvement.
“Council takes the results of the community survey seriously and uses the feedback to act and implement change. It’s also valuable to provide insight in to areas of concern for the broader community,” he said
“For example, there was a decline in community satisfaction with regard to waste management, however this is a state-wide trend, which demonstrates the current issues experienced by the waste and recycling sector are of a concern to the broader community.”
A report of the full survey results can be viewed on the Colac Otway Shire website.