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August 2023 Council Meeting Wrap

August Council Meeting Wrap

14 August 2023

Buloke Shire Council’s August Meeting was highlighted by the adoption of the Annual Plan Year 3, Volunteer Policy, and Community Grants Guidelines. Council, also noted the results of the Community Satisfaction Survey, resolved to join the Wimmera Southern Mallee Development (WSMD Ltd) and considered key customer experience items.

An important component of Council’s strategic planning has been adopted with the Year 3 Annual Plan developed to deliver a range of key objectives set out in the Council Plan 2021-2015.

Some of the key actions/projects included in the Year 3 Annual Plan include the development and adoption of a Buloke Aquatic Strategy, completion of construction of Playspaces for Berriwillock, Donald, and Wycheproof, preparation of Buloke Drainage Plans, preparation of Community Plans, Recreation Reserve Planning projects for Birchip, Donald, and Sea Lake, development and adoption of an Integrated Community Planning Framework and Development and adoption of the Children, Youth and Families Strategy.

The Community Grants guidelines have been adopted for the financial year to ensure that there is clarity and transparency around allocations of Community Grant funding. Each year, Council allocates $20,000 to the Community Grants Program and Sponsorship and $50,000 to the Community Sustainability Grants Program, with both programs now open.

Similarly, the newly adopted Volunteer Policy is a key in supporting the community and encouraging volunteerism. Engagement of volunteers to assist Council in the performance of its functions is considered a very important and worthwhile initiative, and something which should be encouraged to support the benefit and wellbeing of the broader Buloke municipal community. The policy outlines Council’s efforts in the promotion, recruitment, engagement, and recognition of volunteers across many services and opportunities.

The results of the Community Satisfaction Survey for 2023 have been noted. Council’s overall performance has fluctuated over time, but since achieving its peak in 2021, perceptions have significantly declined for consecutive years, returning to ratings seen in 2016 and 2017.

Results from the Local Government Community Satisfaction Survey have been nationally trending downward over the last two years with many factors influencing how residents experience local government services including cost of living and affordability, as well as emergency events such as flooding.

Council is committed to working hard for our community on both our flood recovery efforts and normal operations and will use these results to inform future actions.

Council, has resolved to accept an invitation to apply for membership to WSMD Ltd. Formally known as Wimmera Development Association, should WSMD Ltd approve Buloke’s application they would join the current member municipalities of Horsham Rural City, Hindmarsh Shire, West Wimmera Shire, Yarriambiack Shire and Northern Grampians Shire in an MOU with the peak body who leads, supports and encourages the sustainable development of the region in partnership with government, business and the community.

Also considered at the Council Meeting was the strong progress made against the Customer Experience Strategy as well as the adoption of a Draft Customer Experience Charter for the purposes of community consultation.

Two leaves of absence were approved at the meeting, Cr Carolyn Stewart for the period 1 July 2023 to 31 December 2023 and Cr David Pollard for the period 10 August 2023 to 30 November 2023.

An Additional Council Meeting was held on 1 August to consider matters relating to Expressions of Interest for the Growing Regions Program Round 1. Council will both support an expression by the Birchip Community Housing Incorporated and submit an expression for the Wycheproof Recreation Reserve Multi-Sport Facility.

Minutes and documents relating to the August Council Meeting and the Additional Council Meeting and recordings of both meetings are available on Council’s website.

Buloke Shire Council will hold its next scheduled monthly Council Meeting in the Wycheproof Supper Room from 7:00pm on Wednesday 13 September 2023.

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