Robust Operational Plan and Budget sets Council up to focus on roads and deliver significant improvements

Wollondilly Council

Roads are the clear top priority in Wollondilly Council’s 2022/23 Operational Plan and Budget, which includes a record investment of over $50 million in capital works, as well as many other great projects which will be delivered across the Shire in the next 12 months.

Mayor Matt Gould said, “This is the first budget and operational plan for the new Council and my first as Mayor, so I’m excited to see us deliver these projects for the community and to make sure that Wollondilly continues to be a fantastic place to live, work and visit.”

“Continuing the work from the last term of Council to address the impacts of historic underspending on roads as well as the damage caused from the past six months of torrential weather will be our primary focus, with a record-setting investment of over $26M going into road repairs and reconstruction for close to 200 projects right across the Shire.”

“This includes more than $5M towards Silverdale Road, in excess of $4M for West Parade, $600k+ each for Bobs Range Road and Montpellier Drive and hundreds of thousands going into each of the following projects; Thirlmere Way, Arina Road, Werombi Road, and Regreme Road just to name a few.”

“We will also see badly needed targeted reconstruction and resurfacing work on sections of road across the Shire including in areas such as Menangle Rd, Binalong Rd, Egans Rd, Rockford Rd, Spring Creek Rd and Wilton Rd in Appin.”

“Council is also expanding our road crews with a new dedicated roadside vegetation and drainage crew to address the significant drainage issues we have across the Shire. This will help keep water off the roads and stop it getting into the road pavement and prevent further significant damage while we invest more than ever before in our 870km road network.”

“The program demonstrates a balanced approach of preventative treatments, an increase in targeted resurfacing/reconstruction (heavy patching) and full road reconstructions. It includes the introduction of a roads crew and programs focussed on vegetation and drainage to keep water off the roads, a doubling of targeted pavement repairs (so less need for short term repairs), as well as quicker responses for temporary repairs on main roads and improved surveillance systems.”

While roads are the top priority for Wollondilly, the community has also expressed a desire for Council to invest in major infrastructure, including new community and sporting facilities. A range of exciting projects located right across the Shire will support the health and wellbeing of the Wollondilly population, including new and upgraded playgrounds at Menangle, The Oaks and Yanderra, improved sporting facilities at Appin and Tahmoor, and new footpaths at Silverdale and Bargo.

Council recognises that the Shire is growing, and has an important role in planning for growth with the aim of protecting and enhancing our lifestyle and what makes the Shire unique. To maintain service delivery and enable ongoing improvements to the customer experience, Council will be digitising the planning approval process to allow for seamless transactions between local and State government platforms, as well as increasing efficiency resulting in faster DA determination times.

Council will make the process easier for its customers with added resourcing for Development Services, as well as further investment in Strategic Planning to prepare for and manage the future demands of growth, particularly in Wilton and the NSW Government’s Greater Macarthur Growth Area.

The direct investment of $48M in local capital works to improve the Shire will stimulate local jobs through project delivery. The local economy will also be boosted with the implementation of the Employment Lands Strategy to open up land for job creating businesses.

Council will continue to advocate for economic development opportunities to support existing primary production uses. This includes amending the LEP to remove red tape and make it easier to start or expand horticultural farming.

Council will also promote awareness of Wollondilly as a visitor destination through strategically focussed Love the Dilly and Visit Wollondilly campaigns, highlighting the beauty and unique experiences the Shire has to offer.

Mayor Gould noted, “We want Wollondilly Council to become the best it can be – a high performing organisation managing change and growth well and delivering higher quality services for the benefit of the current and future Wollondilly community.”

All councils in NSW were given the opportunity this year to apply to receive an additional special rate variation (SRV) in excess of the rate cap set by the independent pricing regulator, IPART. Wollondilly did not take this opportunity and instead set the rates at a 1.3% annual increase as recommended by IPART, which is well below inflation. This equates to an average of about $15 for the year for an average residential property.

Mayor Matt Gould said “I’m delighted that the first budget and operational plan of the new Council and my first as Mayor has not only been able to deliver a record investment in roads and infrastructure for our community, but unlike the majority of councils across NSW has been able to do so without imposing an additional special rate variation on our community.

“This highlights our clear focus on addressing the issues our community are most concerned with,” he said.

Adoption of the Operational Plan and Budget maintains Wollondilly Council in a sound financial position.

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