Surf Coast Shire Council has adopted its Council Plan, with incorporated Health and Wellbeing Plan, and Financial and Asset Plans after inviting public submissions on drafts of the documents.
The three-week submission period constituted the third and final phase of a wide ranging community engagement program titled People Place Future. The first phase attracted some 1200 responses, whilst the second phase involved a community panel which met for 33 hours over seven sessions, before producing a recommendation report.
The final phase of engagement drew 46 survey responses and four submissions from individuals or groups. Eleven comments were received on the Financial Plan and eight on the Asset Plan.
“One of the defining features throughout the development of the Council Plan and related documents has been the extent to which Council has sought to understand and incorporate community feedback,” said Surf Coast Shire Council Mayor Cr Libby Stapleton.
“We are enormously grateful to the many people who have contributed to the People Place Future project. The high level of participation provides a richness to the feedback and gives us confidence we have a strong picture of community sentiment,” said Cr Stapleton.
“The feedback we received during the final submission period shows there are high levels of support for the themes and strategies included in the Council Plan, as well as the content of the related strategic documents,” she added.
The Council Plan contains seven themes which represent the top strategic focus areas for the Council during its four-year term.
The seven themes are:
- First Nations reconciliation
- A healthy connected community
- Environmental leadership
- Sustainable growth
- A robust and diverse economy
- Arts and creativity
- Accountable and viable Council
Supporting the themes are 19 strategies which summarise what the Council will do to achieve the goal attached to each theme.
The Council Plan incorporates a Health and Wellbeing Plan which is required by Victorian Government legislation. Accompanying the Council Plan are the Financial Plan 2021-2031 and Asset Plan 2021-2031, which guide, respectively, financial sustainability and management of public assets, over a ten-year timeline.
The engagement undertaken via the community panel used a methodology known as deliberative engagement, which allows for deeper, more context rich feedback. One of the tasks allocated to the panel was to develop a community vision for Surf Coast Shire. This vision was adopted by Council and is as follows:
From the hinterland to the coast, from the first peoples to the children of the future, we are an active, diverse community that lives creatively to value, protect and enhance the natural environment and our unique neighbourhoods. We will leave the Surf Coast better than we found it.
The panel also presented a report containing a set of 10 principles to guide how Council, the community and other stakeholders, should work to achieve the vision.
Cr Stapleton said the Council Plan sought to highlight a select number of priorities.
“The Council Plan does not capture all that we will do as a Council but places a spotlight on the areas that we most wish to influence over the four years of the plan.
Council will consider a report at a future meeting which will provide a detailed action plan to guide how the themes and strategies in the Council Plan will be delivered.
The plans can be viewed at www.surfcoast.vic.gov.au/peopleplacefuture.