Mornington Peninsula Shire is committed to transparent reporting and accountability to the community.
The 2019–20 Annual Report provides the community with information about the Shire’s operations and performance during the financial year.
Mornington Peninsula CEO John Baker said “it has been an extraordinary year with tremendous challenges requiring a dramatic shift in the way we work.”
“It’s a year that has seen us activate our Municipal Emergency Management Plan not once, but twice. Our ability to successfully respond to the many economic and social upheavals during this period is proof of the fundamental strength of our organisation.
“We began 2020 by taking an active role in the bushfire emergency relief effort, specifically by being part of a multiagency operation to send home evacuees from bushfire affected Mallacoota. We worked closely with the Department of Defence to facilitate the safe transport of evacuees from Hastings and HMAS Cerberus to an Emergency Relief Centre established at Somerville Recreation Centre.
“After a short hiatus we were faced with a second – and very different – crisis in the form of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Like most businesses and community organisations across the nation, our services were significantly impacted by government restrictions to contain the virus and we had to adapt rapidly to new realities.
“Through the ‘Caring for our Community’ initiative we delivered 3,186 care packages over the life of the initiative. With the successful suppression of COVID in Victoria, we have now transitioned our care package program remaining product to Community Support and Information Centres to continue food relief services. We also conducted regular welfare checks via phone to ensure our 5,000 community care clients had support in place.
“To support local business through this period, we instigated a range of initiatives to help businesses maintain resilience. This includes a business support package that has already put half a million dollars back into the business community, a Business Concierge Service, fast tracking of approvals and compliance matters, temporary
cessation of fees and charges, support for local contractors and rate and rent relief options for those in Council properties.
“Seeking out every available opportunity for State and Federal Government grant funding for projects, the Shire has a $320 million package of shovel ready projects ready to go. These projects respond to genuine needs within our community and will help soften the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I would like to end by paying tribute to the Peninsula’s greatest asset and the source of much of its strength and resilience: our volunteers. Without them we would be unable to look after our community and our environment.
“More than 2200 volunteers are directly involved in Shire activities and we’ve been amazed at how many community members have come forward during the COVID crisis to commit their time and energy to help,” concluded Mr Baker.
The 2019–20 Annual Report showcases many significant achievements including:
- Despite the ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic the construction of Yawa Aquatic Centre continued to make progress with the project on budget and on track for project completion March next year.
- Council resolved to reduce the risk of road trauma for our community and visitors and wrote to the Department of Transport to seek approval for several speed limit reductions as part of the Safer Speeds Trial. Road Safety Victoria approved the two-year Safer Speed Trial on 38 roads, seeing the speed limit reduced to 80 km/h on the Peninsula’s high-risk Shire-managed sealed rural roads.
- Late 2019 saw the launch of our Better Buses campaign, receiving over 92,500 community engagements and 2,500 written and online surveys.
- Successfully advocated against the closure of the Mornington Centrelink office by gaining a six month extension to the current service.
- We developed a Beyond Zero Waste Strategy and Single-use Plastics Policy. Both the strategy and policy outline how Council will manage waste and single use plastics, with the Strategy aiming to bring community ideas and everyday actions to innovation on approaches to resource recovery and recycling.
- We quickly responded to the recycling crisis hitting many Victorian Councils in July 2019. The Shire was able to limit what went to landfill to just one day’s worth of collections.
- Following the Shire’s declaration of a climate emergency in August 2019, a draft Climate Emergency Plan – Ensuring Our Future: Our Climate Emergency Response was developed. It was adopted in August 2020.
- We launched the Shire’s first Gender Equality Strategy 2020-230 on International Women’s Day and just 10 days after the historic passage of the Victorian Government’s Gender Equality Act.
- Council adopted its Neighbourhood Character Study and the Coastal Villages Strategy resulting in the protection of unique character for our 42 townships and villages.
- The Shire tackled concerns around dangerous jet ski riders in our waters and worked with Maritime Safety Victoria regarding the safe use of jet skis on the Peninsula.
At the conclusion of the 2019–20 financial year, Council remains in a strong financial position with strong cash flows, reserves and a solid balance sheet.
Capital Works delivered during the year at $66.1M is the main driver in increased net assets of $110M. The Shires loan balance increased to $34.8M due to new borrowings of $26.5M for Yawa Aquatic Centre. Council made $3.8M principal payments during the year.
Mornington Peninsula Shire’s 2019–20 Annual Report can be downloaded by visiting mornpen.vic.gov.au/annualreport.