By Racheal Willett
Yarrawonga residents are among groups of ratepayers who look at Moira Shire Council significantly less favourably now than they did one year ago, according to the latest Local Government Victoria Community Satisfaction Survey.
The survey, co-ordinated by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning on behalf of Local Government Victoria (LGV), canvassed 500 Moira residents between February 1 and March 30 to “assess the performance of Moira Shire Council across a range of measures and to seek insight into ways to provide improved or more effective service delivery”.
The results of the 2017 survey are directly compared to the results of the 2016 survey which also canvassed 500 Moira residents.
According to the results released last week, Moira Shire Council’s overall performance rating “declined significantly” in the past year.
“The overall performance index score of 53 for Moira Shire Council represents a four point decline on the 2016 result,” according to the findings report.
“In all, council’s overall performance rating has declined seven index points since 2013.
“Moira Shire Council’s overall performance is rated statistically significantly lower than the average rating for councils state-wide (index score of 59), however it is line with the group average for large rural councils (index score of 54).”
And it appears Yarrawonga residents are among the most dissatisfied of Moira ratepayers.
“Adults aged 35 to 49 years, Yarrawonga residents, women and Nathalia/Numurkah residents are significantly less favourable in their view of council’s overall performance than they were just one year ago,” says the survey report.
Despite the poor results, Moira Shire Council Mayor Gary Cleveland took a positive view of the survey findings saying the new Council Plan was “a road map for tackling the challenges highlighted by the release of the 2017 Local Government Community Satisfaction Survey”.
Mayor Cleveland said council’s performance was “steady in key areas but community satisfaction with council’s customer service, advocacy and overall performance had dropped by three, three and four points respectively”.
Of the Yarrawonga residents surveyed, 10 percent rated council’s overall performance over the past 12 months as ‘very poor’. Eleven percent gave a rating of ‘poor’, 47 percent ‘average’, 24 percent ‘good’ and 8 percent ‘very good’.
The overall performance index score from Yarrawonga residents for Moira Shire Council dropped from 58 in 2016 to 51 in 2017.
Yarrawonga residents delivered council an index score of 47 in relation to contact with council, compared to the state-wide council’s score of 61; 67 for customer service compared to 69 for the state-wide score and 49 for council’s overall direction, compared to a state-wide council’s score of 53.
Other key findings of the survey across the shire showed more residents rate Moira Shire Council’s overall performance as ‘very poor’ (7 percent) than ‘very good’ (5 percent).
In relation to identified core performance measures – overall performance, community consultation, advocacy, making community decisions, sealed local roads, customer service and overall council direction – “Moira Shire Council’s performance was either stable or declined compared to council’s own results in 2016”, according to the survey report.
“Performance ratings on sealed local roads are significantly lower in 2017 compared to 2016 (dropping from an index score of 52 to 44).
“Council’s results for the core performance measures are generally equal to the Large Rural group average ratings but are significantly lower than state-wide average ratings for councils.”
“The survey results underscore the importance of delivering our Council Plan - a great place to live, a thriving local economy, a clean green environment and a well-run council,” said Mayor Cleveland.
“Our plan says our communities are actively involved in shaping their future, that we will provide a strong voice for our shire in the development and implementation of water policy and importantly we will listen and respond to the needs of our entire community.
“Our commitment to improve our business processes and customer service is captured in two key commitments - council will be easy to do business with, and our customers will be at the centre of Council service design and delivery.
“So overall I am confident our Council Plan has us on a path to improve our results and more importantly improve our service delivery for the whole community.
“We are looking forward to getting on and delivering these improvements and with them our results in next year’s survey.”
Mayor Cleveland said the survey also confirmed that council needs to improve how the community perceives council’s performance as well as actual performance with fewer respondents having contact with council during the 12 months prior to completing the survey.
“In 2012 nearly 7 out of 10 survey participants had actually experienced our service delivery first hand – this dropped to barely 5 out of 10 this year,” Mayor Cleveland said.
“It suggests that half of the people participating in the survey are providing responses based on what they have heard about council and the results suggest what they are hearing isn’t always positive.”
Mayor Cleveland suggested the difference between real and perceived performance was highlighted by the drop in community satisfaction with sealed local roads.
“This year we delivered our largest ever road maintenance and improvement program with more than $11 million spent across the shire – but community satisfaction has dropped from 53% satisfied last year to only 44% this year,” he said.
The results of Moira Shire Council’s Community Satisfaction Survey can be viewed on council’s website –