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Minutes

 

OF Scheduled
COUNCIL MEETING

HELD ON

Tuesday 6 April 2021

AT 6.30pm

In Council Chamber, 25 Ferres Boulevard, South Morang


Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                    Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

 

 

ADMINISTRATORS

 

LYDIA WILSON                            CHAIR OF COUNCIL

On 19 June 2020 the Acting Minister for Local Government, The Honourable Daniel Andrews appointed the Panel of Administrators for the City of Whittlesea and appointed Ms Lydia Wilson as Chair of the Panel.  The Panel of Administrators comprises of Ms Lydia Wilson, The Honourable Bruce Billson and Ms Peita Duncan.  On 3 March 2021, the Hon. Bruce Billson resigned from his position as Administrator with the City of Whittlesea.  The State Government will make a new appointment to the vacant position.  Ms Lydia Wilson and Ms Peita Duncan will continue to undertake the duties of the Council of the City of Whittlesea until the October 2024 Local Government Election.PEITA DUNCAN                           ADMINISTRATOR

 


Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                    Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

 

 

SENIOR OFFICERS

 

 

CRAIG LLOYD                             CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

FRANK JOYCE                            EXECUTIVE MANAGER GOVERNANCE

KATE MCCAUGHEY                   DIRECTOR COMMUNITY WELLBEING

AMY MONTALTI                          DIRECTOR CORPORATE SERVICES

JUSTIN O’MEARA                       DIRECTOR PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT

DEBBIE WOOD                            DIRECTOR INFRASTRUCTURE & ENVIRONMENT

 

 


Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                   Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

 

ORDER OF BUSINESS

 

The Chief Executive Officer submitted the following business:

 

1.            Opening.. 9

1.1         MEETING OPENING & INTRODUCTIONS.. 9

1.2         PRAYER BY THE Director Corporate Services.. 9

1.3         ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF TRADITIONAL OWNERS STATEMENT. 9

1.4         award - Association of Consulting Surveyors - Council Awards Results 2021. 9

1.5         acknowledgMENT of the hon bruce billson’s contribution to the city of whittlesea.. 10

1.6         Present.. 10

2.            Apologies.. 10

3.            Declarations of Interest. 11

4.            Confirmation of Minutes of Previous Meeting.. 11

5.            Questions, Petitions and Joint Letters.. 11

5.1         Questions To ADMINISTRATORS.. 11

5.2         Petitions.. 11

Nil Reports.. 11

5.3         Joint Letters.. 13

5.3.1       Joint Letter - Lalor Recreation Reserve - 22 Sydney Crescent, Lalor.. 13

5.3.2       Joint Letter - Lalor Football Club pavillion, 22 Sydney Crescent, Lalor.. 14

6.            Officers’ Reports.. 15

6.1         Connected Communities. 17

6.1.1       For Noting - CEO Update - 6 April 2021. 17

6.1.2       For Discussion - Road Safety and Traffic Management: Harvest Home Road, Epping North.. 19

6.1.3       For Feedback - Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) Next Steps   27

6.1.4       For Decision - Review of Governance Rules.. 49

6.2         Liveable Neighbourhoods.. 109

6.2.1       For Decision - Mill Park Basketball Stadium redevelopment  109

6.2.2       For Decision - Public Submissions Committee Recommendations Report - Request for Boundary Change of a Locality – 182 Greenhills Road, Thomastown.. 119

6.3         Strong Local Economy.. 201

Nil Reports.. 201

6.4         Sustainable Environment. 203

6.4.1       For Decision - Greening Whittlesea City Forest Strategy   203

6.4.2       For Decision - Petition Response - Remove Existing Naturestrip Trees in Samuel Court, Bundoora.. 323

6.5         High Performing Organisation.. 331

6.5.1       For Decision - Unconfirmed Minutes of Audit & Risk Committee Meeting and Proposed Amendment to Committee Charter.. 331

6.5.2       For Decision - 2020/21 Growing Suburbs Fund - Project Applications.. 347

6.5.3       For Decision - Proposed Annual Budget 2021-22. 365

6.5.4       For Noting - Governance Arrangements under Administrators - first twelve months.. 487

7.            Notices of Motion.. 531

Nil Reports.. 531

8.            Questions to Officers.. 531

9.            Urgent Business.. 531

10.         Reports from Delegates Appointed by Council to Other Bodies. 533

10.1        For Noting - Informal Meetings of Administrators and Delegate Meetings - 6 April 2021. 533

11.         Confidential Business. 543

11.1       Connected Communities. 543

Nil Reports.. 543

11.2       Liveable Neighbourhoods.. 543

Nil Reports.. 543

11.3       Strong Local Economy.. 543

Nil Reports.. 543

11.4       Sustainable Environment. 543

Nil Reports.. 543

11.5       High Performing Organisation.. 543

Nil Reports.. 543

11.6       Notices of Motion.. 543

Nil Reports.. 543

12.         Closure.. 543

 

 

Note:

In these Minutes, Resolutions adopted by Council are indicated in bold text.

 

 

 


Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                    Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

1.         Opening

1.1       MEETING OPENING & INTRODUCTIONS

The Chair of Council, Lydia Wilson opened the meeting at 6.30pm.

“Welcome to this Council Meeting of 6 April which is being livestreamed.

I am Lydia Wilson, Chair of the Panel of Administrators and I would also like to introduce my Panel colleague, Administrator Ms Peita Duncan.

I would like to advise that our CEO, Mr Craig Lloyd is an apology today due to ill health.  I would like to introduce Amy Montalti, Director Corporate Services and ask that she introduce the Council Officers in attendance today.”

The Director Corporate Services, Ms Amy Montalti, then introduced the members of the Executive Leadership Team:

“Good evening everyone, we also have with us:

Executive Manager Governance, Mr Frank Joyce;

Executive Manager Public Affairs, Ms Kristi High;

Director Community Wellbeing, Ms Kate McCaughey;

Director Planning & Development, Mr Justin O’Meara; and

Director Infrastructure & Environment, Ms Debbie Wood.

These members of the Executive Leadership Team will join us during the meeting.”

1.2       PRAYER BY THE Director Corporate Services

Following the Introductions, the Director Corporate Services read the following prayer:

Almighty God, we humbly beseech thee, to vouchsafe thy blessing upon this council.  Direct and prosper its deliberations to the advancement of thy glory and the true welfare of the people of the Whittlesea City Council.

Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever.

Amen

1.3       ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF TRADITIONAL OWNERS STATEMENT

The Chair of Council, Lydia Wilson read the following statement:

“On behalf of the City of Whittlesea I recognise the rich Aboriginal heritage of this country and acknowledge the Wurundjeri Willum Clan as the Traditional Owners of this place.

I would also like to personally acknowledge Elders past, present and emerging.”

 

1.4       award - Association of Consulting Surveyors - Council Awards Results 2021

The Chair of Council, Lydia Wilson read the following statement:

“Before we move on with the meeting, I would like to acknowledge that the City of Whittlesea has been recognised by the Association of Consulting Surveyors Victoria in its 2021 Council Awards for the highest positive movement in ratings, recognising us for “significant improvement” in managing subdivisions. 

The Association represents businesses employing licensed surveyors who are responsible for all subdivisions in Victoria and assess Councils on efficiency, response time,  legislative knowledge and cooperation.  Although not formally winning the biennial award, this is excellent industry recognition of the hard work invested in constantly improving our service delivery. 

Well done to the subdivisions team in the Building and Planning Department.

1.5       acknowledgMENT of the hon bruce billson’s contribution to the city of whittlesea

I would also like to take this opportunity to formally advise that Administrator the Hon Bruce Billson, resigned effective 5 March 2021 to take up a very important national role as Small Business Ombudsman for the Australian Government.

I would like to acknowledge the significant contribution Bruce made as a member of the Panel of Administrators and to our community over the past six months.

During his time as an Administrator, Bruce has worked alongside Administrator Peita Duncan and myself firstly in recruiting our new CEO, Craig Lloyd through a very rigorous process and then supporting our Executive and staff to deliver a range of service and governance improvements, support our community through COVID-19, and embark on a significant consultation to develop a new Council Plan. He was visionary and contributed enormously in many strategic areas including effective financial management, risk and audit and economic and business development.

Administrator Duncan and I remain fully committed to our work through to October 2024 and the roadmap we have set for the future of the City of Whittlesea, including an ambitious outcome-focused program for the remainder of our term.

We are looking forward to the Victorian Government announcing a replacement Administrator for the City of Whittlesea shortly.”

1.6       Present

Members:

Ms Lydia Wilson                  Chair of Council

Ms Peita Duncan                 Administrator

Officers:

Mr Frank Joyce                   Executive Manager Governance

Ms Kristi High                      Executive Manager Public Affairs

Mr Justin O’Meara               Director Planning & Development

Ms Kate McCaughey          Director Community Wellbeing

Ms Debbie Wood                 Director Infrastructure & Environment

Ms Amy Montalti                  Director Corporate Services

2.         Apologies

Nil

 

3.         Declarations of Interest

NIL or select from the following options for type of interest and delete others:

4.         Confirmation of Minutes of Previous Meeting

Council Resolution

Moved:                       Administrator Duncan

Seconded:               Chairperson Wilson

 

THAT the following Minutes of the preceding meeting as circulated, be confirmed:

Scheduled Meeting of Council held 1 March 2021

Carried

 

5.         Questions, Petitions and Joint Letters

5.1       Questions To ADMINISTRATORS

NIL 

The answers provided verbally by the Chief Executive Officer at the meeting in response to questions asked by members of the public are preliminary answers provided on a without prejudice basis.  A formal written response to each question is sent following the Council meeting which contains Council official position on the matter.

 

5.2       Petitions

            Nil Reports


Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                    Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

5.3       Joint Letters

5.3.1    Joint Letter - Lalor Recreation Reserve - 22 Sydney Crescent, Lalor

A Joint Letter from 6 residents was received requesting Council:

Withdraw recommendation “2. Explore the feasibility of installing boundary soccer target goals on the oval to prevent the misuse of the coaches’ boxes”, from the recommendations made in the Ordinary Council Meeting held on Tuesday 4 September 2018 under “Section 6.2.1 Joint letter response - Lalor Recreation Reserve - 22 Sydney Crescent, Lalor”.

BACKGROUND

Lalor Recreation Reserve, 22 Sydney Crescent, Lalor is a 4.2-hectare park classified as a Municipal Open Space. The Reserve caters primarily for structured sporting use by cricket, tennis and football clubs but also caters for unstructured active recreation activities such as walking, running and casual ball games.

On 4 September 2018, Council considered a Joint Letter from four residents expressing concern regarding anti-social behaviour and noise generated by soccer balls being kicked into the coaches’ boxes at the Reserve.   Council resolved to: Explore the feasibility of installing boundary soccer target goals on the oval to prevent the misuse of the coaches’ boxes.

SUMMARY

·    The 4 September 2018 Council Resolution was a direct response to the resident concerns at the time and is simply an option to be explored.

·    The possible installation of soccer goals on the oval boundary could allow for more flexible and multipurpose use of the sporting ground.

·    Coaches boxes form part of the sporting code infrastructure and minimum requirements, therefore the removal of permanent or installation of temporary coaches’ boxes isn’t consistent with AFL Victoria standards and wasn’t considered a viable option.

 

Council Resolution

Moved:                       Administrator Duncan

Seconded:               Chairperson Wilson

 

THAT Council resolve to:

1.   Receive the Joint Letter from 6 residents relating to Lalor Recreation Reserve.

2.   Following consideration of the 2021/22 budget, commence   a   master planning   process for   the   Lalor   Recreation Reserve which explores the issues raised in the joint letter and builds on learnings and feed-back from community and stakeholders to date.

3.   Ensure that consultation on the masterplan includes local residents.

4.   Consider the Joint Letter in conjunction with the Council Report on the master planning for Lalor Recreation Reserve at a scheduled Council Meeting mid-2022.

Carried

 

5.3.2    Joint Letter - Lalor Football Club pavillion, 22 Sydney Crescent, Lalor

 

A Joint Letter from 6 residents was received requesting Council:

“Immediately restrict the social gatherings of resident sport clubs at the Lalor Football Club pavilion, 22 Sydney Crescent, Lalor, and that the restrictions take immediate effect” due to noise generated during social gatherings.

BACKGROUND

Lalor Recreation Reserve, 22 Sydney Crescent, Lalor is a 4.2-hectare park classified as a Municipal Open Space. The Reserve caters primarily for structured sporting use by cricket, tennis and football clubs but also caters for unstructured active recreation activities such as walking, running and casual ball games. The Lalor Recreation Reserve Football and Cricket Pavilion is an estimated 15 metres from adjoining resident properties in Gordon Street, Lalor.

The Lalor Recreation Reserve Football and Cricket Pavilion is allocated as part of Council’s seasonal allocation process to Lalor Football Club for the Winter season (April to September) and Lalor Warriors Cricket Club for the Summer season (October to March).

The seasonal allocation allows for the following usage:

·    Monday to Friday       4:00 pm – 11:00 pm

·    Saturday                     8:00 am – 12:00 midnight

·    Sunday                       8:00 am – 10:00 pm

 

Council Resolution

Moved:                       Chairperson Wilson

Seconded:               Administrator Duncan

 

THAT Council resolve to:

1.   Receive the Joint Letter from 6 residents relating to Lalor Recreation Reserve.

2.   Investigate the installation of swipe card access at the Lalor Recreation Reserve Football and Cricket Pavilion and an alternative access gate at the Lalor Recreation Reserve.

3.   Consider the Joint Letter in conjunction with the Council Report on the master planning for Lalor Recreation Reserve at a Scheduled Council Meeting in mid-2022.

 

Carried

 


Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                    Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

6.         Officers’ Reports

 

Chief Executive Officer Explanatory Note

Under the Governance Rules 2020, Administrators are to be provided an opportunity to speak regarding each of the reports contained within the Agenda, without the need to indicate opposition for the purpose of debate.

 

 

 


Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                    Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

6.1       Connected Communities

6.1.1      For Noting - CEO Update - 6 April 2021  

Responsible Officer:           Chief Executive Officer

Author:                                  Chief Executive Officer   

 

The CEO Update will be provided verbally by the Chief Executive Officer at the 6 April 2021 Council meeting.

Director Corporate Services Explanatory Note
Chair of Council, Lydia Wilson verbally advised during the meeting “I note that as the CEO is not in attendance today, this item is withdrawn from the agenda in accordance with Rule 16(2) of the Governance Rules.”
Following the meeting, the CEO Update report will be incorporated into the 6 April 2021 Scheduled Council Minutes in order to ensure that it contains the most up to date information regarding the pandemic situation.

 

 

 

 


Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                    Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

ITEM 6.1.2 For Discussion - Road Safety and Traffic Management: Harvest Home Road, Epping North   

Responsible Officer:           Director Infrastructure & Environment

Author:                                  Senior Traffic Transport Engineer   

 

This report discusses road safety and traffic operational concerns on Harvest Home Road in Epping North, detailed actions to address these concerns and an opportunity for Council to receive Federal Accident Black Length funds for the works.

RECOMMENDATION SUMMARY

1.       Note that seven serious and nine other injury crashes have occurred in the last 5 years on Harvest Home Road between Edgars Road and Epping Road.

2.       Note that a submission has been made to the Federal Blackspot Funding Program for $900k of works on Harvest Home Road, Epping.

3.       Support the package of road safety and traffic management improvements for Harvest Home Road, which includes:

a)      Reduction of the speed limit on a section of Harvest Home Road from 60km/h to 50km/h.

b)      Construction of road safety raised pavements at strategic locations on Harvest Home Road.

c)      Remodel the traffic signals at the Edgars Road and Edenvale Boulevard / Redding Rise intersections, to provide fully controlled right-turn movements.

4.       Support the approach to communications and engagement with a focus on the detailed design and presentation of the selected traffic devices.

Brief overview

Harvest Home Road has a poor road safety record and is classified as an Accident Black Length.  A package of road safety and traffic operational improvements has been prepared by an independent consultant and reviewed by Council and the Department of Transport.  Council has a strong chance of being successful in its application for Federal Government funding (approximately $900K) for the package of works. A clear plan for consultation is needed that does not compromise the safety devices effectiveness but encourages community engagement.

rationale for recommendation

If Council agreement is not reached on the package of works, an opportunity to receive Federal Government funding will be lost. The alternative option identified to address the poor road safety record is estimated to cost in excess of $2.5M and is unlikely to attract grant funding. This is therefore not cost-effective and would be difficult for Council to justify the investment. Unless some form of intervention is taken, crashes are likely to continue, possibly at an increased rate. 

impacts of recommendation

The package of works proposed will reduce the number and severity of crashes in Harvest Home Road. However, some elements of the package, e.g. speed limit reduction and road safety raised pavements may not be viewed favourably by some members of the community.  

what measures will be put in place to manage impacts

Comprehensive communication and engagement will be undertaken consisting of two community information sessions being held in the Harvest Home Road area and an information package mailed out advising that the benefits of the road safety and traffic operational improvements to the broad community outweigh any actual or perceived disadvantages to specific individuals.

 

Report

Background

This report focuses on the 2.1km western section of Harvest Home Road, between Epping Road and Edgars Road in Epping North (Attachment 1).

Road Safety

This section of Harvest Home Road has a poor road safety record.  With sixteen casualty crashes in the past five years (of available crash data), Harvest Home Road has the second highest calculated casualty crash rate of all Council roads and is classified as an Accident Black Length in the terms of State and Federal Government road safety agency definitions.

Miller Street in Epping has a higher crash rate; this is the subject of a separate investigation and report.

Council officers have reviewed the Harvest Home Road crashes with input from an independent road safety and traffic engineering consultant and the Department of Transport (formerly VicRoads) road safety engineers, and it was agreed that there is no complete overwhelming consistent pattern or contributing factor to the crashes. Specifically, the crashes involve:

·        seven crashes at traffic signals, i.e. at Edgars Road (4) and at Edenvale Boulevard / Redding Rise (3); and 

·        nine crashes at random locations along the road.

There is also a developing trend where the number of crashes increasing each year, e.g.;

·        2015 – one crash

·        2016 – two crashes

·        2017 – one crash

·        2018 – five crashes

·        2019 – seven crashes

Development is still occurring within this area, increasing vehicle movements along Harvest Home Road and thus increasing the risk that this trend will continue if no action is taken.

Traffic Conditions

A summary of latest available traffic condition data is in the table:

Location

Vehicles per
Day

Speed (km/h)

Vehicles Over (km/h)

Max
km/h

Commercial Vehicles

Ave

85th%ile

40

50

60

70

No. 204
(60km/h)

8,267

55.1

62.1

7.988
(97%)

6,403
(77%)

1,850
(22%)

217
(2.6%)

116

241

(2.9%)

No. 283
(50km/h)

7,884

50.9

59.6

7,249
(92%)

4,442
(56%)

905
(11%)

99
(1.2%)

132

441

(5.6%)

This summary shows that traffic speeds are higher than desirable, however traffic volumes are consistent with the nature and function of the road and are within the volumes forecast (approximately 10,000 vehicles per day) for the design of the road.

It is difficult to determine if speed was a contributing factor in any of the crashes. However, as it is well-accepted that high speed is often a contributing factor in crashes, the severity of crashes, and that a reduction in traffic speed, either through a reduction in the speed limit, introduction of measures to physically reduce speeds, or both, will lead to a reduction in the frequency of crashes or in the event that a crash still occurs, the severity of the crash will be lessened. This is the basis of the State Government and TAC Wipe Off 5 campaign.

Road Network & Abutting Land Use

Harvest Home Road is a major collector road which forms the boundary between Epping North (south side) and Wollert (north side). It runs in an east-west direction and is approximately 4.2km in overall length; 1.2 km east of Epping Road, 3.0km west of Epping Road. 

As mentioned above, this report focuses on the 2.1km section between Epping Road and Edgars Road.  In this section, the standard of road varies from a two-lane divided road between Epping Road and Whitelight Avenue, to a two-lane undivided road between Edgars Road and Whitelight Avenue.

Traffic signals are installed at the Edgars Road and Edenvale Boulevard/Redding Rise intersections, and a roundabout at the Greenfields Drive / Northside Drive intersection. 

Abutting land use is predominately residential except for the Epping North Recreation Reserve and Epping Soccer Stadium and RSL Club on the south side, near Epping Road, opposite that is an undeveloped Regional Recreation Reserve and located near Edgars Road is the Epping North Shopping Centre.

On the west bound carriageway, the current speed limit is 60km/h east of Bellerive Road, and 50km/h west of Bellerive Road and on the east bound carriageway, the speed is 60km/h east of Northside Drive, and 50km/h west of Northside Drive.

Options Available

A package of cost-effective road safety and traffic operational improvement measures has been prepared to address the poor casualty crash rate.  This includes a combination of site-specific measures and more broadly speed reduction measures;

·        for the seven crashes at the traffic signals, remodelling of the traffic signals to provide fully controlled right-turns is recommended; and

·        for the nine crashes at random locations along the road, the reduction of the speed limit and introduction of road safety raised pavements is recommended. 

Raised pavements would be effective along the entire length of this section of Harvest Home Road, including at the signalised intersections, these would further enhance road safety at these sites.

The estimated cost of this package is approximately $900K and has a calculated benefit cost ratio (BCR) of 4.7.  The BCR is a function of the:

1.       benefit of the project; this is expressed in forecast savings due to the reduction in the number and severity of crashes due to the crash countermeasures proposed;

2.       the cost of the crash countermeasures proposed; and

3.       the Crash Reduction Factor (CRF); this is value provided by the Department of Transport (DoT). 

Other options such as the construction of three roundabouts could be considered.  Due to the higher cost (approximately $2.5M), lower CRF and an estimated BCR of less than 2.0 it is deemed that this would not be eligible for Federal funding.

Proposal

Council agreement is sought for the road safety and traffic operational improvement package prepared for Harvest Home Road, in order to submit for Federal Government Accident Black Length funding.

Consultation

The Community has not been engaged on this specific proposal at this time. Care will be taken with meaningful engagement on this proposal without compromising the community safety benefits sought.

The planned community engagement approach aims to clearly articulate the rationale for the project, road safety and travel time implications, and alternate options considered. Council officers will work with City of Whittlesea’s Communication and Engagement team to facilitate the following engagement activities to proposed to commence in June 2021:

Consult Harvest Home Road property owners/occupiers and the local community on the overall project proposal, impacts and benefits:

·    Letter, Questionnaire, Plan and FAQ mail out to the community inviting feedback and inviting attendance at an information session

·    Two community information sessions to be held outdoors in the vicinity of Harvest Home Road, attended by Council officers at different times and days to allow flexible availability for community attendance.

·    Deployment of variable message signs on Harvest Home Road to invite the broader community to attend an information session to provide their feedback on the proposal.

Should the majority of Harvest Home Road owners/occupiers be supportive of the project proposal the community will be informed of the final project proposal.

Public Transport Victoria has been consulted regarding the proposal and has not raised any objections.

Ambulance Victoria has been consulted regarding the proposal and has not raised any objections.

Victoria Police have been consulted regarding the proposal and have not raised any objections.

The Country Fire Authority have been consulted regarding the proposal and have not raised any objections.

The Department of Transport (VicRoads) has had input into the development of the funding submission.

Consultation Risks

Some negative community feedback can be expected. Council officer experience in installing road safety raised pavements in similar situations is they are not well received by portions of the Community, specifically commuters who are estimated to be 90% of the drivers currently using Harvest Home Road. Residents who live in properties abutting Harvest Home Road are expected to be generally supportive of the raised pavements, with some exceptions for residents who live directly adjacent to a proposed raised pavement.

With similar type proposals in the past, objectors have raised concerns such as:

·        inconvenience with slowing down and accelerating;

·        additional maintenance (due to wear and tear) on vehicles;

·        additional fuel use and pollution;

·        increase travel times; and

·        decrease in property values.

Whilst (from an objector’s point of view) there is merit to these matters, Council has historically viewed these items as follows:

·        the inconvenience has previously been acknowledged; however, it is by far outweighed by the road safety benefits of the raised pavements;

·        there are no tangible impacts on vehicle maintenance, fuel use or pollution, providing drivers drive to road conditions;

·        increased travel times can be measured in seconds, in this case an eastbound trip could take a driver an extra 12 seconds, and a westbound trip an extra 11 seconds for a driver travelling at the speed limit; and

·        property values, there is no evidence regarding this matter.

The importance of addressing community safety for road users will be highlighted during the community engagement process. 

Critical Dates

The application for Federal Government funding was submitted prior to the deadline of 30 November 2020. 

Successful submissions are generally announced in April or May of the year following the submission for delivery to commence on or after 1 July 2021. It is suggested that consultation and detailed design commence in Q4 of 2020/21 to ensure adequate time for delivery.

In the event that this application is not supported by Council, this submission can be withdrawn anytime prior to the announcement.

Financial Implications

The submission for Federal funding ($900K) has a high BCR of 4.7, it is expected to be successful and there will be no requirement for Council to contribute funds to the delivery of the works.

In the event that the submission is not successful, Council will need to determine if it funds the more cost effective works package ($900K) or the less cost effective package of works ($2.5M), either package would then be considered in the development of the future New Works Program.

Policy strategy and legislation

City of Whittlesea Road Safety Strategy (2017)

Address the safety of all road users and path users

Address driver behaviour and attitude towards vulnerable road users: pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists.

City of Whittlesea Integrated Transport Strategy (2004):

Action RF 2.2: Manage local roads to improve amenity and safety for users

link to strategic risks

Strategic Risk Health/ Safety and Welfare – Failure of safety and risk management systems resulting in serious injury or harm to staff or member of public.

 

Links to whittlesea 2040 and the CoUNCIL Plan

Goal                                       Connected community

Key Direction                        A healthy and safe community

 

 Declarations of Conflicts of Interest

Under Section 130 of the Local Government Act 2020 and Chapter 5.7 of the Governance Rules 2020, officers providing advice to Council are required to disclose any conflict of interest they have in a matter and explain the nature of the conflict.

The Responsible Officer reviewing this report, having made enquiries with relevant members of staff, reports that no disclosable interests have been raised in relation to this report.

Conclusion

The section of Harvest Home Road between Epping Road and Edgars Road has a poor road safety record

There is a concerning increasing number of crashes each year and if some form of action is not taken an increased crash rate is forecast.

A cost-effective package of road safety and traffic operational improvement measures has been prepared to address the poor casualty crash rate.  The estimated cost of this package is approximately $900K.  A technical, evidenced based submission for Federal Government Accident Black Length funding is expected to be successful, however the success is also dependent on Council agreement to the submission.

Community consultation involving a mailout and information sessions will be held to closely engage with the community and explain the benefits and implications of the proposed proposal to directly affected and broader community to inform whether this project proposal have overall community support.

While some adverse community feedback may be expected, the benefits of the road safety and traffic improvements to the broader community, outweigh any actual or perceived disadvantages to any individual.

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Council resolve to:

1.    Note that seven serious and nine other injury crashes have occurred in the last 5 years on Harvest Home Road between Edgars Road and Epping Road.

2.    Note that a submission has been made to the Federal Blackspot Funding Program for $900k of works on Harvest Home Road, Epping.

3.    Support the package of road safety and traffic management improvements for Harvest Home Road, which includes:

a.    Reduction of the speed limit on a section of Harvest Home Road from 60km/h to 50km/h;

b.    Construction of road safety raised pavements at strategic locations on Harvest Home Road; and

c.    Remodel of the traffic signals at the Edgars Road and Edenvale Boulevard / Redding Rise intersections, to provide fully controlled right-turn movements.

4.    Support the approach to communications and engagement with a focus on the detailed design and presentation of the selected traffic devices.

Council Resolution

Moved:                       Chairperson Wilson

Seconded:               Administrator Duncan

 

THAT Council resolve to adopt the Recommendation.

Carried

 


Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                    Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

ITEM 6.1.3 For Feedback - Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) Next Steps 

Attachments:                        1        2021 Youth Advisory Committee Terms of Reference   

Responsible Officer:           Director Community Wellbeing

Author:                                  Manager Family & Children   

 

RECOMMENDATION SUMMARY

That Council resolve to:

1.   Adopt the 2021 Youth Advisory Committee Terms of Reference.

2.   Inform the current Youth Advisory Committee members of the 2021 Youth Advisory Committee Terms of Reference.

3.   Publish the 2021 Youth Advisory Committee Terms of Reference on Council’s website.

4.   Allocate $15,400 in the draft 2021/22 budget to support delivery of the Youth Advisory Committee.

5.   Engage with young people over the next 12 months to explore a Youth Advisory Council model and provide a report back to Council no later than April 2022.

Brief overview

This report provides a summary of the achievements and challenges of the inaugural 2020 Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) and recommends an updated YAC 2021 Terms of Reference (ToR) for Council’s consideration.  The updated ToR:

·    Are based on a review of youth participation models, local government benchmarking and current YAC members feedback; and

·    Identify exemplary practice models for Council’s consideration.

 

Changes from the 2019 ToR include:

·    The establishment of two briefings or updates to Council in a relevant format by the Youth Advisory Committee in a 12-month period.

·    Refocusing of the YAC to a Youth Centred model minimising adult involvement. This means that Administrators/ Councillors will no longer form part of the formal YAC membership, with their involvement supported through the twice yearly Council / YAC forums identified above.

·    Establishment of an internal YAC Advisory and Support Group.

·    Provision of additional support for participation and leadership including the payment of an honorarium to young people participating on the YAC.

rationale for recommendation

The objectives of YAC are to increase youth participation in decision making, foster leadership, civic participation and build life skills. These are consistent with the vision of the initial 2019 YAC ToR, Youth Plan 2030+, Whittlesea 2040 and the Local Government Act 2020.

The report recommendations and updated ToR are based on extensive consultation with young people, including those who have been directly involved in the Youth Advisory Council as well as benchmarking with 13 other Victorian Local Governments.

impacts of recommendation

The impacts associated with adoption of the updated ToR include;

·    Increased opportunities for Council and YAC participants to work together through the establishment of two formal briefings (via Council Briefing meetings or similar forums) to Council by the Youth Advisory Committee.

·    Creating opportunities for meaningful exchange on issues of importance to young people

·    A greater ability for the YAC to inform Council’s decision making processes.

·    Increase the frequency of YAC meetings from once a quarter to once a month.

·    Refocusing of the YAC to a Youth Centred model minimising adult involvement in the monthly meeting cycle.

·    Increasing supports for participation, leadership development and establishment of an internal YAC Advisory and Support Group, intended to increase ability and opportunity for youth voice to inform Council program planning and development – especially those impacting on young people.

·    Explore opportunities over the next 12 months for the Youth Advisory Committee to transition to a Youth Advisory Council through a codesign process.

 

what measures will be put in place to manage impacts

The updated ToR propose that the YAC will report to Council biannually; with the report delivered in a format chosen by YAC members and in discussion with Council. This less formal mechanism for reporting will allow a more dynamic and accessible exchange of ideas between Council and young people.

Supporting this approach will be the establishment of an internal YAC Advisory and Support Group to increase opportunities for youth voice to inform Council program planning and development – especially in areas impacting on young people.

 

Report

Background

At its August 2019 meeting, Council resolved to develop a YAC. Officers subsequently worked in partnership with local young people and developed a draft ToR which was endorsed by Council at its October 2019 meeting (including the requirement for a 12 month review).

 

The YAC provides a formal means for interaction and mutual information sharing between Council and young people, allowing young people to identify and advocate for issues of importance to them, and provide for an increased level of youth civic participation.

 

The YAC Inaugural Term 2020

The YAC commenced in January 2020 and during this period identified key topics of interest for discussion and allocated these topics to its regular meeting schedule.  The inaugural term also presented several unforeseeable challenges and opportunities due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Despite the significant disruption experienced through the Covid-19 pandemic response period, the YAC continued to meet online. The YAC adjusted well to the challenges and continued to engage in open, respectful and robust discussions at meetings. This resulted in creative actions and recommendations that have provided valuable input into the ongoing development the City of Whittlesea Youth Services, Council and the Whittlesea community. Some of the achievements and challenges of the 2020 YAC are summarised below.

 

Achievements:

 

·    The Real Talk wellbeing for schools’ package resulted focusing on mental health and wellbeing. This package helped increase conversations around mental health in schools.

·    Consultation and input into the recently opened $4.6M development of the Mill Park All Abilities Playspace.

·    Input into the ‘Life Skills Ready’ content within schools, specifically influencing the development and trial of the ‘Adulting 101’ program.

·    Provided valuable information to assist with the re-development of Council’s website and accessibility of information around disability services within the municipality for young people.

 

Challenges:

 

·    Covid-19 restrictions resulted in many of the initial YAC projects being put on hold and the YAC work stalled until an online program delivery model was developed. This resulted in a delay to progressing projects and training.

·    Working in an online platform reduced the incidental conversations and engagement between members, and resulted in the young people feeling that they had missed opportunities to develop connections with members throughout the year.

·    Some YAC projects, such as the campaign ‘Not all disabilities are visible’ were unable to be actioned during Covid-19 restrictions; as public transport was not fully operational or it was not possible to undertake the activities required to progress the identified projects.

 

 

Impact of COVID pandemic on young people

 

With the COVID-19 global pandemic, children and young people in Australia are living through unparalleled times. A 2020 co-authored report by Kids Helpline and the Australian Human Rights Commission on the impacts of COVID-19 on children and young people (accessing the Kids Helpline service) identified their overall top five COVID-19 related concerns as being:

·    Mental health concerns resulting from COVID-19

·    Social isolation

·    Education impacts

·    Impacts on family life

·    Changes to plans and usual activities.

A further summary is outlined in Table One below.

 

Concern

Cohort

Mental health concerns resulting from COVID-19

Top concern for females, males, and transgender or gender diverse aged 5-10 years and all those aged 18-25 years; males and transgender or gender diverse aged 11-14 years; those in cities and inner regional areas; and those aged 18-25 years from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (CALD).

Education impacts

Top concern for females and transgender or gender diverse aged 11-14 years; females, males, and transgender or gender diverse aged 15-17 years; and those in outer regional and remote areas.

Changes to essential services and supports

Top concern for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.

Impacts on family life

Top COVID-19 concern for CALD children and young people aged 11-14 and 15-17 years.

Fear of contracting COVID-19

Top concern for transgender or gender diverse aged 18-25 years.

Table One: COVID-19 Impacts & concerns for young people

(Source: Impacts of COVID-19 on children and young people who contact Kids Helpline (2020) | Australian Human Rights Commission)

 

The report highlighted areas for government action to alleviate the pandemic’s negative impacts on children and young people, including:

·    investing in child and youth-focused mental health services and support

·    promoting clear, accurate and child-friendly information and resources

·    extending economic support to all families and young people that need it, and making skills development and youth employment a key focus of recovery

·    prioritising services for vulnerable children and young people

·    involving children and young people in responses to COVID-19 and recovery plans.

 

Whittlesea 2040 COVID 19 Impacts Report

In late 2020, to inform the development of Council’s Community and Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan, Council commissioned SGS Economics and Planning to prepare a report on the impacts of Covid-19 on Whittlesea (including state, national and global trends). The SGS report identified:

·    Young women in particular aged between 25 and 21 years old, reported feeling very or extremely stressed (Loxton et al., 2020 in WHIN, 2020).

·    Nationally, almost two-thirds of young women reported financial stress (Loxton et al., 2020 in WHIN, 2020).

 

In addition, many young people experienced multiple layers of disadvantage, particularly those that moved home with family due to economic circumstances including that:

·    Younger Victorians were more likely to experience hardship before and during the first coronavirus lockdown.

·    23% of young people aged 18 to 24 experienced high psychological distress compared with 16% of Victorians (VicHealth, 2020)

·    39% of young people experienced hardship during the first lockdown (compared to 24% of Victorians).

·    30% reported financial hardship in February 2020 (compared to 16% of Victorians). They were also more likely to report they had lost their job (17% compared to 10% of Victorians).

·    Young women were most impacted with 26% losing their job, compared to 11% of young men.

 

In addition, young people are concerned about the impacts on their education and employment prospects. Mission Australia’s annual Youth Survey (2020) found that:

·    33% of young people aged 15-19 were concerned about the impacts of COVID-19 on education, with

·    34.4% saw education as their biggest personal issue over the past year.

·    At a time when youth unemployment increased due to the pandemic, young people said they most needed flexible working hours, more jobs in their local area, more work experience and access to training and skill development programs to increase their employment prospects (Mission Australia, 2020)

 

Whilst the longer-term impacts of these shocks are yet to be seen, some implications for Council were identified as:

•     The impacts and disruption to education, skills development, employment and finances for young people are likely to have longer-term impacts.

•     Targeted support to address education, employment losses is needed.

 

The revised YAC proposal provides a framework for Council to continue to work with local young people on relief and recovery; foster skills and economic participation opportunities (such as the proposed YAC Honorarium); as well as the sharing of information and insights as to how the pandemic continues to affect young people.

Proposal

Throughout late 2020 and early 2021 an evaluation and review of the 2020 inaugural YAC model was undertaken (in line with the October 2019 Council resolution). Following this process as well as extensive consultation, the proposed ToR have been amended to:

·    Increase opportunities for leadership development

·    Increase opportunities for Council to consult with young people on issues which affect them; and

·    Ensure the voice of young people in represented within Council’s decision making processes.

The proposed 2021 YAC ToR allows for Council’s Youth services to engage in a co-design process with YAC members to explore a transition to a ‘Youth Council’ model (see below). 


 

Youth Councils

Youth Councils are a form of youth voice engaged in community decision-making. Youth councils exist on local, state, provincial, regional, national, and international levels among governments, non-governmental organisations, schools, and other entities. There are a number of youth councils established in Victorian local government settings including the Cities of Ballarat and Greater Geelong. Youth Councils vary in format and function but typically play a representational as well advisory role. This can include ‘Junior Mayors’ etc.

The proposed YAC and ToR will complement and enhance Council’s existing suite of Youth programs which all embed youth participation as a fundamental principle, creating multiple settings for young people to influence decisions which affect them and for their voices to be heard. The YAC and its members will continue to collaborate with young people engaged in other Youth Services programs as it attempts to capture the diversity of youth voice and undertake common projects. 

This will provide avenues for increased community consultation and engagement with young people in the municipality and provide genuine leadership and civic engagement opportunities for young people. These multiple pathways for input are particularly important in the current round of Council consultations for the Community Plan (including and Municipal Health and Wellbeing); are consistent with the new Local Government Act 2020 around deliberative engagement; and supports the development of civic participation in the emerging Covid-normal world.

The review has resulted in the below recommendations and amendments to the current ToR:

·    Increase the frequency of meetings from quarterly to monthly.

·    Creates opportunities for YAC members and Council to meet throughout the year including the establishment of two briefings or updates to Council in a relevant format by the Youth Advisory Committee in a 12-month period.

·    Retains the representative nature of participants.

·    Refocusing of the YAC to a Youth Centred model minimising adult involvement. This means that Administrators/ Councillors will no longer form part of the formal YAC membership, with their involvement will be supported through the twice yearly Council / YAC forums.

·    Allows members to serve a second term (ideally there will be a mix of previous term and new members each year)

·    Establish portfolio groups for YAC members to focus on areas of interest and undertake project work.

·    Re-align the term of membership to commence annually on 1 July, which aligns with Council’s own planning cycle and permits more seamless recruitment and induction in the build up to the new term.

·    Establish an internal Council officer YAC Advisory and Support Group comprising of members from several internal Council departments, including Governance, Communications, Community Engagement and Youth Services. This group will meet as required with the YAC Chair and Co-Chair to ensure the voice of young people are included within Council and opportunities for young people to inform Council policy is undertaken.

·    Formalised honorarium to be paid in recognition of YAC participation.

·    Provides for a supported environment in which young people can develop and express their leadership skills, support each other and become involved in decisions that affect young people in the municipality as we move into a Covid-normal world.

See Attachment One, for the 2021 YAC ToR.

Consultation

Officers undertook an evaluation and review of the Whittlesea YAC model and all consultations processes were in line with Council’s engagement policies and practices, including:

·    Surveying current YAC members on their experience of YAC membership and recommendations.

·    Local government benchmarking with several other LGA’s and youth advisory committees/Councils.

·    A series of consult sessions were held with the 2020 YAC members and other local government youth advisory/youth council representatives for the purpose of identifying and sharing best practice models

·    Advice and feedback sought from the YACVIC Youth Participation Practitioners Network (YPPN) on best practice in youth participation.

·    Discussion with Council officers to enable the YAC model to maximise the opportunity for young people to enact as a voice within Council’s Youth Services programs.

·    Co-design consultation workshops with YAC members and Council’s Youth Services Officers.

Critical Dates

Date

Activity

April to May 2021

Recruitment of new YAC members

1 July 2021

All 2021/22 YAC members on-boarded

October 2021

Council Briefing with YAC #1 (date tbc)

March 2022

Council Briefing with YAC #2 (date tbc)

April 2022

Council Meeting Report – 12-month ToR review – Including feedback from Youth Council engagement process (date tbc)

Table Two: Key dates

Financial Implications

Estimated annual program costs associated with implementing the proposed YAC model are summarised in Table Three below.


 

Description

Estimated Amount (exl GST)

Annual Honorariums for YAC members

Up to 13 participants calculated at $600 per person annually equalling: 

$7,800

Chair and Co-Chair $800

$1600

Training and workshops and professional development for the YAC membership

$1,500

Project implementation budget

$4,500

Total

$15,400

Table Three: Estimated annual program costs

Policy strategy and legislation

The updated YAC ToR are informed by the following Policy and Strategy.

Council policy

YouthPlan2030+: Adopted by Council in November 2017, the YouthPlan2030+ is informed by the voice of young people, parents and sector experts and guides Council’s investment in the wellbeing of young people. The plan is also informed by national and international literature and evidence on adolescent development and what constitutes good youth work practice, together with local data.

Whittlesea 2040: One of the key directions under Whittlesea 2040 Goal 1: ‘Connected Community’ is ‘a participating community’. The Youth Advisory Committee aims to increase levels of civic participation in young people, allowing them greater opportunities to meaningfully participate in decisions impacting their lives.

Victorian Policy

The Victorian Government’s Youth Policy, which includes a Youth Engagement Charter that outlines principles that guide the government’s engagement with young people and how it will give effect to those principles in practice.

Section 55 and 56 of the Local Government Act 2020 outline principles and requirements for greater deliberative engagement, and is designed to improve local government democracy, accountability, transparency, and service delivery for all Victorians – including young people.

link to strategic risks

Strategic Risk Community and Stakeholder Engagement - Ineffective stakeholder engagement resulting in compromised community outcomes and/or non-achievement of Council's strategic direction

This proposal will ensure a supportive setting for a representative group of young people to be involved in informing and contributing to decisions affecting the youth of the municipality which is consistent with the new Local Government Act and particularly important as we move into a Covid-normal world.

Links to whittlesea 2040 and the CoUNCIL Plan

Goal                                       Connected community

Key Direction                        A participating community

 

 The YAC provides an avenue for young people to enter a meaningful exchange with Council by enabling them to raise and respond to issues that are of importance to young people’s lives.

The Whittlesea YAC are to be a local youth representative body with scope to consult and engage with local young people for the purpose of ensuring young people’s concerns and needs about their local community are heard and actioned.

The YAC is one of many mechanisms used by the Council to engage and consult with young people and is crucial in ensuring young people are well informed and engaged in local decision making in order to achieve the goal of a Connected Community in Whittlesea 2040 and Youth Plan 2030+.

Council has significant opportunities emerging for the community to shape and inform the Community Plan, Financial Plan and Pandemic Recovery before the proposed commencement of the YAC in July.  Youth Services will work with the existing YAC members from the 2020 program and young people in general to ensure that they have the opportunity to inform the development of these plans.

Declarations of Conflicts of Interest

Under Section 130 of the Local Government Act 2020 and Chapter 5.7 of the Governance Rules 2020, officers providing advice to Council are required to disclose any conflict of interest they have in a matter and explain the nature of the conflict.

The Responsible Officer reviewing this report, having made enquiries with relevant members of staff, reports that no disclosable interests have been raised in relation to this report.

Conclusion

The proposed YAC provides an important vehicle for local young people to identify local needs and to raise this directly with Council. It is also an important mechanism for Council to connect and engage with young people across the municipality.

The updated YAC model builds on learnings from its inaugural year and provides young people with opportunities to be involved in:

·    Meaningful civic participation and engagement; and

·    Local decision-making and leadership.

Evolving the current Youth Advisory Committee into a Youth Council through a co-design process has the potential to increase opportunities for young people to be engaged in civic participation and representation particularly in decisions that impact them in the emerging COVID-normal world.

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Council resolve to:

1.   Adopt the 2021 Youth Advisory Committee Terms of Reference.

2.   Inform the current Youth Advisory Committee members of the 2021 Youth Advisory Committee Terms of Reference.

3.   Publish the 2021 Youth Advisory Committee Terms of Reference on Council’s website.

4.   Allocate $15,400 in the 21/22 draft budget to support delivery of the Youth Advisory Committee.

5.   Engage with young people over the next 12 months to explore a Youth Council model and provide a report back to Council no later than April 2022.

Council Resolution

Moved:                       Administrator Duncan

Seconded:               Chairperson Wilson

 

THAT Council resolve to:

1.    Adopt the 2021 Youth Advisory Committee Terms of Reference.

2.    Inform the current Youth Advisory Committee members of the 2021 Youth Advisory Committee Terms of Reference.

3.    Publish the 2021 Youth Advisory Committee Terms of Reference on Council’s website.

4.    Allocate $15,400 in the 21/22 draft budget to support delivery of the Youth Advisory Committee.

5.    Engage with young people over the next 12 months to explore a Youth Council model and provide a report back to Council no later than April 2022.

6.    Write to all members of the current 2020 Youth Advisory Committee thanking them for their individual and collective contribution and achievements on behalf of young people within the City of Whittlesea.

Carried unanimously

 


Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                                 Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

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Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                    Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

ITEM 6.1.4 For Decision - Review of Governance Rules 

Attachments:                        1        Draft Governance Rules   

Responsible Officer:           Executive Manager Governance

Author:                                  Executive Manager Governance   

 

RECOMMENDATION SUMMARY

The report recommends that Council endorse proposed amendments to the Governance Rules as contained in Attachment 1 and invite community input on the proposed amendments.

Brief overview

The adoption of Governance Rules is a requirement under the Local Government Act 2020. The Rules regulates proceedings at Council Meetings and can be amended by Council if required.

rationale for recommendation

The Governance Rules have been in operation since 1 September 2020.  Council has had an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of the Rules and has identified several amendments to improve the operation of Council meetings and to improve access to meetings by the community.

impacts of recommendation

The new Rules will put in place meeting procedures that will facilitate Council meetings and improve access to Council meetings by the community.

what measures will be put in place to manage impacts

The Governance Rules will be reviewed again after they have been in operation for a further period. This will provide Council with an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of the Rules and to provide feedback on any further amendments that may be required.

 

Report

Background

Council resolved to adopt the Governance Rules on 1 September 2020 and the Rules have been in operation for several Council meetings.

The Rules partly replaced the Procedural Matters Local Law (No 1 of 2018) and address many of the areas regulated by the former Local Law including the conduct of Council Meetings and processes related to Council meeting agendas and minutes.

Proposal

The following is a summary of the proposed changes to the proposed updated Governance rules (Attachment 1):

·    Changed wording to be more focussed on purpose and community engagement.

·    Reference has been included in the Rules that Council’s deliberations will be guided by the overarching governance principles in the Local Government Act 2020; (Governance context)

·    Discretion for Council to record in the minutes whether a prayer, good governance pledge or affirmation is stated at the commencement of the meeting; (section 11.2)

·    Provide for Officers to present reports and speak for up to the 5 minutes and a further 2 minutes by extension; (section 12.5)

·    Included Public Questions and capacity for public to ask questions at Council meetings into the Governance rules instead of having a separate Public Question Time Policy and Procedural Guidelines  (Section 17)

·    Amended the section on petitions and joint letters to provide the option for a lead petitioner or one of the signatories to speak to the petition/joint letter for up to 2 minutes at the meeting at which it is tabled; (section 18)

·    Confirming assistance will be available to any community member seeking or requiring support to write their questions or to present to Council. (sections 17.4, 17.7, 18.10)

·    Changed wording relating to records of Meetings and administrator attendance records with register of attendance being published on Council’s website quarterly. (sections 51 and 52)

·    Minor drafting changes to amend obsolete legislative references and consequential amendments to ensure the Rules are legally consistent.

Consultation

Administrators have been briefed on the proposed amendment and have provided feedback.

Legal advice has been obtained in relation to the proposed amendments.

Some feedback had been received from residents requesting the capacity to speak to letters, petitions and ask questions at Council meetings as well as ensuring accessibility which has been considered in this revision.

Formal consultation will occur for a minimum four-week period following adoption of the amended Governance rules prior to formal endorsement by Council.

Community input will be invited on the amended Governance Rules before they are submitted to Council for adoption. The consultation will be in accordance with Council’s community engagement policy and will include general and targeted promotion to inform of the rules and proposed changes with a variety of opportunities for feedback including using the new ‘hive’ platform with a survey or feedback mechanisms. This will include a summary sheet with the key elements of change and seeking feedback on if the changes are supported or not and if there is any other feedback on the Governance Rules.

Critical Dates

Community input will be invited on the amended Governance Rules before they are submitted to Council for adoption.   It is anticipated the rules would then come to Council for endorsement at the 1 June 2021 Council meeting and will come into operation from 2 June 2021.

Financial Implications

Any costs associated with the amending the Governance Rules including the cost of legal advice and advertising are covered in existing Council budgets.

Policy strategy and legislation

The Governance Rules are linked to the following legislation, Council policies and Council Guidelines:

Legislation

Local Government Act 2020

Section 60 of the Local Government Act 2020 requires Council to adopt Governance Rules and prescribes what must be included. The Governance Rules also reflect the various requirements of the Local Government Act 2020, including the conflict of interest provisions and good governance principles.

City of Whittlesea policies and guidelines

Election Period Policy

The Election Period Policy is incorporated in the Draft Governance Rules as required by the Local Government Act 2020.

Public Question Time Policy and Procedural Guidelines

The Public Question Time Policy and Procedural Guidelines detail Council’s procedures around the asking of public questions at Council Meetings. This policy is intended to be revoked following adoption of the new Governance rules as the Governance rules now include the policy position and rules for Public Question time under rule 17.

Community Engagement Policy

Consultation on the Governance rules is required in accordance with the Council’s Community Engagement Policy, and will occur as outlined under ‘consultation’ section of this report.

link to strategic risks

Strategic Risk Governance - Ineffective governance of Council’s operations and activities resulting in either a legislative or policy breach

The efficiency of Council meetings would be affected if Council fails to regularly review the Governance Rules.

Links to whittlesea 2040 and the CoUNCIL Plan

Goal                                       High-performing organisation

Key Direction                        More informed Council decisions based on strong advice and community consultation and engagement

Declarations of Conflicts of Interest

Under Section 130 of the Local Government Act 2020 and Chapter 5.7 of the Governance Rules 2020, officers providing advice to Council are required to disclose any conflict of interest they have in a matter and explain the nature of the conflict.

The Responsible Officer reviewing this report, having made enquiries with relevant members of staff, reports that no disclosable interests have been raised in relation to this report.

Conclusion

It is recommended that Council endorse the proposed amendments to the Governance Rules as contained in Attachment 1 for the purposes of consultation with the community.

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Council resolve to:

1.       Endorse the amended Governance Rules as contained in Attachment 1  

2.       Consult with the community on the amended Rules and consider any community input received at the close of the consultation period; and

3.       Receive a further report in June 2021 considering any public submissions received before resolving on whether to adopt the amended Governance Rules and to rescind the existing Public Question Time Policy and Procedural Guidelines.

 

Council Resolution

Moved:                       Chairperson Wilson

Seconded:               Administrator Duncan

 

THAT Council resolve to adopt the Recommendation.

Carried

 


Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                                 Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

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Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                    Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

6.2       Liveable Neighbourhoods

ITEM 6.2.1 For Decision - Mill Park Basketball Stadium redevelopment   

Responsible Officer:           Director Community Wellbeing

Author:                                  Senior Leisure Planner   

 

RECOMMENDATION SUMMARY

That Council:

·    Proceed with the redevelopment of the Mill Park Basketball Stadium (‘the Stadium’) at an estimated cost of $3,424,218.

·    Commence negotiations with Sports Stadiums Victoria (‘SSV’) to vary the current management agreement for the Stadium; and

·    Continue to engage all community stakeholders throughout the redevelopment project.

Brief overview

In June 2020, the State Government announced the Community Sports Infrastructure Stimulus Program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this funding stream Council was successful in obtaining $1,000,000 for a redevelopment of the Mill Park Basketball Stadium.

The report provides an overview of the recommended project scope and recommends a review in the existing management agreement in partnership with SSV.

rationale for recommendation

In 2020, Council entered into a funding agreement with the State Government. The proposed project scope ensures compliance with the terms of the agreement, improves general amenity and completes major maintenance items, including improving the structural integrity of the building and public safety issues.

It has been acknowledged by all stakeholders including SSV that the current management agreement for the Stadium is not congruent with such modern agreements. A review is required to identity potential business efficiencies and to clearly delineate roles and responsibilities.

impacts of recommendation

Council’s capital contribution to the Stadium redevelopment project is proposed to increase by approximately $2,424,218 to enable full delivery of the recommended project scope. This financial adjustment (increase) has been flagged in the draft long-term financial plan and will be formalised subject to Council’s adoption of the draft 2021/22 budget.

It is intended that the review of the agreement will result in an improved community outcome, including refined clauses to better inform contract management protocol. It is anticipated that ongoing maintenance and operating costs will remain the obligation of Sports Stadiums Victoria under the varied conditions of the agreement.

what measures will be put in place to manage impacts

A high-level risk assessment was undertaken during the project scoping and analysis for the business case which details physical and reputational risks to Council for each delivery option. The recommended project scope reflects the minimal perceived risk to Council.

Further to the project delivery, reputational and financial impacts, the following social benefits have been identified and need to be considered as part of the recommended project:

·    Increased basketball participation

·    Increased participation in physical activity

·    Increase in equitable use of the facility

·    Increased participation by women and girls

·    Improved accessibility to facilities

·    A safer environment and improved design to reduce the incidence of antisocial activity

·    Increase energy/water efficiency, lower energy use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

·    Stimulating the local economy through local job creation.

 

Report

Background

The Redleap Recreation Reserve is an 8.3 hectare (ha) active reserve situated in Mill Park, directly fronting onto Redleap Avenue and Moorhead Drive with a link to Childs Road via the Stables Shopping Centre car park. The reserve neighbours several schools including Mill Park Secondary College and St Francis of Assisi Catholic Primary School.

The City of Whittlesea’s Open Space Strategy 2016 identifies Redleap Recreation Reserve (‘the Reserve’) as a Municipal Level Open Space. The Reserve caters for recreational needs, providing both informal and formal facilities with historical and natural values.

The Reserve supports active and passive recreation at a municipal level and directly caters to the local community, primarily accommodating football, cricket, basketball and passive recreation use, centralised around Peter Hopper Lake.  The Reserve attracts the highest visitor rate of a reserve in Mill Park; however, the forecourt area of the Stadium is presenting safety issues.  Table 1 identifies data provided by Victoria Police that shows increasing offences within the precinct over recent years.

 

Offence

Number of offences reported

April 2018 to March 2019

April 2019 to March 2020

Crimes Against the Person

13

20

Property and Deception

44

73

Table 1. Victoria Police crime statistics.

The Stadium was constructed on the western side of the Redleap Recreation Reserve in 1991 by Council. The Stadium was developed in partnership with the Department of Education and the Victorian Amateur Basketball Association Co-operative Community Advancement Society Ltd and is the largest stadium within the municipality. A four-court complex, the Stadium is home to the Whittlesea City Basketball Association (‘the Association’). The Association:

·    Is the predominant user group of the Stadium.

·    Is the municipality’s largest provider of basketball training, competition and facilitator of elite pathways.

·    Services a current membership of 4500 (pre-COVID) and is expected to grow to approximately 7000 members by the end of the decade.

The Whittlesea Netball Basketball Plan 2019 (‘WNBP’) acknowledges the pivotal role that the Stadium plays in the provision of basketball within the municipality. It also notes that the non-compliant amenities at the facility are restrictive in allowing growth, especially for women and girls and diversity within the game. As an ageing facility, the Stadium fails to comply with:

·    Updated building codes

·    Basketball Victoria/Netball Victoria preferred facility standards; and

·    The minimum requirements of an equitable and sustainable sporting facility. 

Tenancy

In 1991, Council entered into a 50-year lease agreement with the Ministry of Education and Training (now known as the ‘Department of Education’), for a parcel of land on the grounds of Mill Park Secondary College to construct a sports complex. The lease indemnifies the Department of Education from all ownership responsibilities and liabilities. Ownership of the Stadium will pass back to the Department of Education on termination of the lease, however there is provision for a further lease period to be negotiated on conclusion of the initial 50-year term. 

In 1991, Council entered into a 50-year agreement with the Victorian Amateur Basketball Association Co-operative Community Advancement Society Ltd (now known as ‘Basketball Stadiums Victoria Co-Operative Ltd’ and now trading as ‘Sports Stadiums Victoria’) for the construction and management of the Stadium. This agreement included a capital contribution by Victorian Amateur Basketball Association Co-operative Community Advancement Society Ltd towards the Stadium construction and passes all management responsibilities from Council to SSV.

In recent years all stakeholders including, Council officers, SSV, the Association and Basketball Victoria have increasingly identified that some conditions under the historical agreement and actual operational model are contrary to modern stadium operational practices.

 

Strategic planning and funding

The WNBP found that decades of insufficient investment into netball and basketball infrastructure has resulted in a significant under provision of facilities within the municipality and is negatively impacting on sports participation rates. The WNBP recognises the pivotal role that the Stadium plays in the provision of basketball within the municipality.  Future developments at the Mernda Sports Hub and Epping North Recreation Reserve will address this demand.

The non-compliant supporting amenities at the Stadium pose a challenge for user groups. As an ageing facility, the Stadium is currently failing compliance with DDA, building code and inclusive design principles including female friendly and child safe regulations. 

Council’s long-term capital program originally included an indicative allocation of $800,000 towards the redevelopment of the Stadium in the 2021/2022 financial year. It was initially planned that throughout 2020/21 Council officers would work closely with all relevant stakeholders in the development of a detailed project scope, business case, operational models and costings. However, in June 2020 the State Government announced the Community Sports Infrastructure Stimulus Program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to this unique funding opportunity Council officers pivoted, and Council was successful in securing a $1,000,000 grant for female friendly and accessibility upgrades to the Stadium.

Redevelopment – Project Scope

Project planning is now well developed and on track to meet the State Government funding timelines for project delivery. However, throughout the project planning and detailed building assessments phase, additional project items have been identified; responding to major maintenance requirements, building structural repairs and general facility amenity and safety improvements. These additional items have expanded the project scope and cost. Additional costs are summarised in the financial section of this report.

A detailed business case has been developed providing an analysis of all project scope options. Table 2 provides a high-level overview of the business case options.

Option

Scope

Cost

Option 1: Do nothing.

-     Continue normal operations within the facility and return State Government grant.

$0

Option 2: Essential works under funding agreement and structural rectification works.

-     Indoor redevelopment to address compliance and functionality issues

-     Minor forecourt upgrades.

-     Structural rectification works

$3,174,218

Option 3: Full scope, including improved ESD, public realm activation and safety.

-     Full scope of Option 2.

-     Major forecourt upgrades to improve safety, accessibility and general amenity.

-     Improved ESD, water efficiency, lower energy use.

$3,424,218

Table 2.  Redevelopment project scope options

 

Whilst highest in initial capital costs Option 3 includes allowance to improve ESD universal, equitable/greater accessibility and crime prevention initiatives through environmental design principles, as well as improvements to functionality of the Stadium and forecourt. 

All scope options were subject to a benefit / outcomes assessment and the ability to meet the following outcomes:

-     Increased basketball participation and in physical activity generally

-     Increase in equitable use of the facility – particularly by women and girls

-     Improved accessibility to facilities

-     A safer environment and improved design to reduce the incidence of antisocial activity

-     Increase energy/water efficiency, lower energy use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

-     Stimulating the local economy through local job creation.

A high-level risk assessment was also undertaken on each scope option to consider the following:

-     Health, wellbeing and social outcomes for the community (regarding compliance and accessibility of facilities).

-     Ongoing facility maintenance costs.

-     Crime rates within the immediate vicinity.

-     Council’s reputational risk.

Proposal

Upon analysis of the project scope options identified above, it is recommended the project proceeded with Option 3 (full scope plus public realm activation), with the following rationale:

-     The redevelopment of existing facilities will ensure that the Stadium meets the current facility standards required to encourage growth and diversity in participation in sport. 

-     The forecourt is the most community facing and visible aspect of the Stadium with thousands of people viewing it weekly. Upgrades to the forecourt area will not only increase attractiveness and general amenity to the Stadium but improve perceptions of safety and reduce crime in the area.

-     Functional improvements will enable efficient and effective daily operations and foot traffic during peak periods, including decreasing touchpoints where possible which has been prioritised given the COVID safe requirements now placed on sporting facilities.

-     Issues with facility structure and major maintenance items will be addressed as part of the redevelopment.

-     This option reflects the minimal perceived risk to Council and received the highest rating in the benefit / outcome’s analysis.

-     The combination of all direct, industrial and consumption effects would result in a total estimated increase of 13 jobs located within the municipality.

The proposed cost is outlined in Table 3 below.

Management agreement and operational model

The WNBP recommends that a revised facility operational model is established to ensure that basketball pathway remains accessible and sustainable, a sentiment which is supported by SSV, Basketball Victoria and the Association.

In November 2020, a working party including representatives from Basketball Victoria and SSV was established to collaboratively identify opportunities to develop and grow basketball and review business structures in the northern suburbs (namely City of Whittlesea and Moreland City Council as the two LGA’s with facilities managed by Sports Stadiums Victoria). The working group’s recommendations will be presented to the Basketball Victoria and SSV Boards and Council officers mid-2021.

In addition, SSV have indicated to Council officers their willingness to explore options to vary the current management agreement.

Consultation

Council officers have been working collaboratively with SSV, the Association and Basketball Victoria on an ongoing basis throughout the design phase, receiving feedback and providing advice. 

Due to this project moving forward a financial year and to ensure ongoing and genuine consultation and engagement, a User Reference Group was established in October 2020; including representation from various basketball clubs that utilise the Stadium. The objective was to provide the opportunity for clubs, not just the peak bodies, and the Association to provide feedback during the design process, receiving ongoing project updates and discussion around impact during project delivery. Anecdotal feedback to date has been that the User Group structure is providing a genuine and respectful process for community feedback and inclusion. 

Critical Dates

Under the deadlines stipulated within the signed funding agreement with the State Government, the redevelopment must commence by 1 March 2021. Commencement of the project after this date may result in the State Government retracting their financial contribution to the project.  As such, a preliminary package of works to include seating upgrades and minor upgrades commenced in mid-February.

Additionally, the construction schedule for the major package of works has been developed and following budgetary consideration of Council it is planned the project will undergo a public tendering process. It is also a State Government funding agreement requirement that the project is completed by December 2022.

Financial Implications

The project has the following financial implications. 

There is currently an indicative budget allocated against this project of $3,424,218, in Council’s draft long term budget over the 2020/21, 2021/22 and 2022/23 years.

Allowing for the $1,000,000 Sport and Recreation Victoria (SRV) grant, Council’s capital contribution to the Stadium redevelopment project will be approximately $2,424,218 to enable full delivery of the recommended project scope (Option 3 of the recommended business case).

Adopting Option 3 would also mean there is a net unfavourable variation from Council’s current forecast long-term capital program; with an additional financial project commitment of $1,624,218 required from Council.

Table 3 below describes the proposed capital budget allocation and funding sources for Option 3.

 

Financial Year

Proposed Budget Allocation

Total

Variation from original long term capital works program estimate

Council (original long term capital works program estimate)

Council (revised estimate)

External (SRV Grant)

2020/21

$96,205

$96,205

$445,655

$541,860

-$445,655

2021/22

$700,000

$2,186,668

$554,345

$2,741,013

-$2,041,013

2022/23

$0

$141,345

$0

$141,345

-$141,345

 Total

$796,205

 $2,424,218

 

$3,424,218

-$2,628,013

Table 3. Proposed capital budget (option 3)

SSV contribution

SSV have informed Council officers that due to the immediate and ongoing impact of COVID on their core business and associated revenue, they are not in a financially viable position to make a cash contribution to the project. They have however indicated a strong desire to continue managing the Stadium in partnership with Council and welcome the foreshadowed contract negotiations. 

It is anticipated that the ongoing maintenance and operating costs will remain the obligation of SSV under any varied conditions of the agreement. It is also noted that the additional energy/water efficiency works are designed to create lower energy use and therefore reduce operational cost. The additional commitment of Council to this project will form part of any negotiations around new management terms.

Policy strategy and legislation

The proposed project is aligned to:

·    Whittlesea 2040 – Goal 1: Connected Community through increased physical activity rates (Direction 1.2).

·    Active Whittlesea Strategy 2019 – Key Direction 3: Open Space / Infrastructure.

·    Whittlesea Netball Basketball Plan 2019 (‘WNBP’): The Stadium will continue to play a pivotal role in the provision of indoor sports courts over the next decade, and beyond.

·    Equal and Safe Strategy 2019: This strategy articulates, ‘sports and leisure spaces are an important setting because these environments can have a powerful influence on gender relations through their modelling of attitudes, behaviours and social norms.

·    Redleap Recreation Reserve Masterplan 2019. The Stadium is located adjacent to Redleap Recreational Reserve. The Council endorsed masterplan for this reserve developed in consultation with the community recommends upgrades to the reserve to create an inviting park experience, addressing informal and formal play and recreation, improved public access and connectivity.

The project also aligns with Active Victoria 2017-2021; the State Government’s guiding framework for investment in sport and recreation opportunities across the state.

link to strategic risks

Strategic Risk Contractor Management - Failure to manage contractors to deliver agreed outcomes

Current operations at the Stadium are not reflective of the management agreement resulting in a blurred line of delineation, accountability and liability. This incongruency between the management agreement and management practice must be addressed. 

Strategic Risk Governance - Ineffective governance of Council’s operations and activities resulting in either a legislative or policy breach

The management agreement does not align with current Council policy, strategy and process.

Strategic Risk Life Cycle Asset Management - Failure to effectively plan for the construction, on-going maintenance and renewal of Council’s assets

Effective asset management and renewal of sport and leisure infrastructure contributes towards Council’s commitment to building healthy and safe communities through increasing participation in sport and physical activity.

Strategic Risk Community and Stakeholder Engagement - Ineffective stakeholder engagement resulting in compromised community outcomes and/or non-achievement of Council's strategic direction

Consultation and close ongoing engagement with the User Group, Basketball Victoria and SSV will be required to ensure the project is not delayed due to inadequate community engagement.

 

Links to whittlesea 2040 and the CoUNCIL Plan

Goal                                       Connected community

Key Direction                        A healthy and safe community

 

 Whittlesea 2040 strives to achieve a connected community; a socially cohesive community, healthy and safe community and a participating community.

The Stadium plays a pivotal role in the delivery of basketball programs and participation in indoor sports within the municipality. The benefits of participation in physical activity are well documented, not only on the physical health and wellbeing of participants but also in improving social and community connectedness outcomes.

Declarations of Conflicts of Interest

Under Section 130 of the Local Government Act 2020 and Chapter 5.7 of the Governance Rules 2020, officers providing advice to Council are required to disclose any conflict of interest they have in a matter and explain the nature of the conflict.

The Responsible Officer reviewing this report, having made enquiries with relevant members of staff, reports that no disclosable interests have been raised in relation to this report.

Conclusion

Fit for purpose indoor sports stadiums play a central role in creating improved community health outcomes. This project will increase sporting opportunities and enable sporting associations and clubs to create social capital, social connection, physical activity and community leadership.

As Council’s largest and only indoor stadium, the redevelopment at Mill Park Basketball Stadium supports increased physical activity and social connectiveness for residents across Bundoora, Epping, Mill Park, Thomastown and Lalor.

Whilst highest in initial capital costs, Option 3 includes allowance to improve ESD, greater accessibility features and crime prevention initiatives through environmental design principles. It also allows for improvements to functionality of the Stadium and forecourt. 

It is envisaged that once completed, the redeveloped stadium and renewed management agreement will collectively provide state-of-the-art operational, environmental and governance structures to further basketball participation, equity and volunteerism pathways across the municipality. 

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Council resolve to:

1.       Proceed with the redevelopment of the Mill Park Basketball Stadium to deliver the full project scope (Option 3) at an estimated cost of $3,424,218.

2.       Authorise the Chief Executive Officer to conduct and execute negotiations within their delegation with Sports Stadiums Victoria to explore variations to the existing management agreement for the Mill Park Basketball Stadium.

3.       Continue engagement with community and other relevant project stakeholders regarding project timeframes and impacts.

Council Resolution

Moved:                       Administrator Duncan

Seconded:               Chairperson Wilson

 

THAT Council resolve to adopt the Recommendation.

Carried

 


Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                    Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

ITEM 6.2.2 For Decision - Public Submissions Committee Recommendations Report - Request for Boundary Change of a Locality – 182 Greenhills Road, Thomastown 

Attachments:                        1        Committee of Council Meeting Minutes from 22 March 2021 and Submissions Table

2        Map of Southern Part of 172, 182 & 182W Greenhills Road

3        Committee of Council Meeting Minutes from 15 December 2020 and submission table   

Responsible Officer:           Executive Manager Governance

Author:                                  Team Leader Governance Administration    

 

RECOMMENDATION SUMMARY

That Council resolves to:

1.   Accept the recommendations of the Committee of Council (the Committee) outlined in Attachment 1, following its consideration of public submissions on the proposal for the southern portion of 172 Greenhills Road in addition to 182 and 182W Greenhills Road Thomastown to be included in the locality of Bundoora (Attachment 2);

2.   Endorse the proposal that the locality boundary be changed to include the southern portion of 172 Greenhills Road in addition to 182 and 182W Greenhills Road Thomastown in the locality of Bundoora;

3.   Authorise the Chief Executive Officer to submit the proposal to the Office of Geographic Names Victoria (GNV) in accordance with the Naming Rules; and

4.   Write to all submitters who provided their contact details informing them of Council’s decision in relation to their submission as detailed in the attached table (Attachment 1) and informing them that the proposal has been endorsed by Council to be submitted to GNV.

Brief overview

The proposal, as shown in the map (Attachment 2), was assessed against the State Government Naming Rules for places in Victoria, (Naming Rules) and complied with the following general principles:

·    It will promote public safety by assisting emergency service authorities to respond and will assist transport, communication and mail services; and

·    It will promote the public interest by recognising that access to 182 & 182W Greenhills Road is from Greenhills Road Bundoora via Messini Place and that there is no access from Thomastown.

At its meeting on 6 October 2020, Council resolved to endorse the proposal to include the properties located at 182 and 182W Greenhills Road Thomastown in the locality of Bundoora and to consult the public on the proposal. 

An analysis of the submissions received in response to Council’s survey of affected properties indicates that 94 per cent of owners and residents in the affected area surveyed where supportive of the proposal.

On 15 December 2020, the Committee of Council (the Committee) considered public submissions on the proposal and advice received from GNV that, for the proposed locality boundary realignment to be accepted, the proposal must be amended to include the southern section of property located at 172 Greenhills Road. 

Council is required to assess the submissions received in accordance with the State Government Naming Rules and the GNV is responsible for deciding naming issues.  Council was obliged to amend the proposal accordingly otherwise GNV advised that it would decline the proposal.

At its meeting on 2 February 2021, Council resolved to accept the recommendations of the Committee outlined in Attachment 3, and resolved to give public notice of the amended proposal including the southern section of 172 Greenhills Road in addition to 182 and 182W Greenhills Road, Thomastown to amend the locality boundary to include the properties in the locality of Bundoora (Attachment 2 map).

An analysis of the submissions received in response to Council’s survey of affected properties indicates that 93 per cent of owners and residents in the affected area surveyed are supportive of the proposal.

rationale for recommendation

The State Government, through GNV is responsible for deciding naming issues.  As 93 per cent of owners and residents in the affected area surveyed are supportive of the proposal and no objections have been received that can be considered valid in accordance with the Naming Rules, Council can proceed to endorse that the proposal be submitted to GNV for consideration.

impacts of recommendation

If Council resolves to proceed to endorse the proposal and authorise submission of the proposal to GNV, in accordance with the Naming Rules, Council must write to objectors, informing them of the outcome of the naming proposal.  The letter to objectors needs to indicate that an appeal to the GNV Registrar must be lodged within 30 days of the naming authority sending the letter to the objector.

There are no critical dates associated with this proposal.  The applicant has been informed that the process for realigning locality boundaries is lengthy and may not be resolved until mid-2021.

what measures will be put in place to manage impacts

All submitters who provided their contact details will be informed of Council’s decision in relation to the proposal and their submission as detailed in the attached table (Attachment 1).

 

 

Report

Background

A request was received from Urbis Pty Ltd on behalf of Wolf Development, the owners of the site at 182 Greenhills Road, Thomastown, to have the locality boundary between Thomastown and Bundoora changed to include the property located at 182 Greenhills Road, Thomastown in the locality of Bundoora.

The Site is located at 182 Greenhills Road, Thomastown, is approximately 2.4 hectares, situated on the outskirts of the Thomastown Industrial/Employment Area and directly north of the established Greenhills Road, Bundoora residential area.

The site is currently under development, following the approval of Planning Permit No. 716125, which allows the construction of 56 dwellings.  Access to the site is from Greenhills Road, Bundoora through Messini Place (formerly 214 Greenhills Road, Bundoora).

At its meeting on 6 October 2020, Council resolved to endorse the proposal to include the properties located at 182 and 182W Greenhills Road, Thomastown in the locality of Bundoora and to consult the public on the proposal. 

An analysis of the submissions received in response to Council’s survey of affected properties indicates that 94 per cent of owners and residents in the affected area surveyed where supportive of the proposal.

On 15 December 2020, the Committee of Council (the Committee) considered public submissions on the proposal and advice received from GNV that, for the proposed locality boundary realignment to be accepted, the proposal must be amended to include the southern section of property located at 172 Greenhills Road. 

Council is required to assess the submissions received in accordance with the State Government Naming Rules and the GNV is responsible for deciding naming issues.  Council was obliged to amend the proposal accordingly otherwise GNV advised that it would decline the proposal.

At its meeting on 2 February 2021, Council resolved to accept the recommendations of the Committee outlined in Attachment 3, and resolved to give public notice of the amended proposal that the southern portion of 172 Greenhills Road in addition to 182 and 182W Greenhills Road, Thomastown be included in the locality of Bundoora (Attachment 2 map).

Proposal

That the southern portion of 172 Greenhills Road in addition to 182 and 182W Greenhills Road Thomastown to be included in the locality of Bundoora.

Public submissions

Council invited public submissions regarding the amended proposal to include the southern portion of 172 Greenhills Road in addition to 182 and 182W Greenhills Road, Thomastown in the locality of Bundoora. 

A public notice was placed on Council’s website Council’s website on Friday 5 February seeking public submissions to be received from 9 February to 5pm on 11 March 2021.  A courtesy notice was also placed in the Northern Weekly on 23 February 2021.  Statutory authorities, including emergency and postal services were consulted.

In addition, a postal survey of property owners and residents was conducted.  There are 234 properties identified in the affected geographic area under the amended proposal.  Of which 230 properties within the geographic area affected were previously consulted in relation to the former proposal.  The area was determined in accordance with the Naming Rules which require consultation for a locality boundary change to be carried out with residents and ratepayers within 200 metres of the current and proposed boundary.

Submitters were invited to speak in support of their submission at a Committee of Council meeting and were informed that the Committee would hear and consider submissions and make recommendations to Council.  Submissions from the first consultation process were included for consideration in relation to the amended proposal. 

In total, 24 surveys were returned by the close of the submission period.  No submitters requested to speak at the submissions meeting.

Committee of Council Meeting  

The Committee met on 22 March 2021 and considered the public submissions and returned surveys.

The following is summary of returned surveys:

 

Agree

Object

No Response

Total

Number of surveys submitted in 2020

29

16

253

298

Number of surveys submitted in 2021

17

7

278

302

Minus duplicate surveys submitted in 2021

6

1

 

7

Total 2021

40

22

233

295

Percentage of surveys

13%

7%

80%

100%

Consistent with the Naming Rules, a non-response to the survey must be taken as agreement to the proposal.  A non-response was received from 80 per cent of properties surveyed.  It is therefore considered that 93 per cent of the owners and occupiers surveyed are supportive of the proposal.

One submission was previously received from a resident outside the affected geographic area who objected to the proposal.

Attachment 1 provides a summary of the feedback received including officer comments and the Committee’s recommendations.

Of the submissions received in agreement with the proposal no significant comments were provided by submitters.  Consequently submissions 23 to 62 have been grouped as one entry in the submission table.

One previous submitter in agreement with the proposal, recorded as submitter 50 in the table attached, included a comment in a duplicate survey received.  The officer comments and committee recommendation in relation to this submission is recorded at the end of the submission table. 


 

Concerns raised by objectors

The main concern raised by objectors was the perception that the valuation of properties located within the geographic area of the proposal will be adversely affected by the proposal. 

It should be noted that an objection based on property valuation is not a valid objection under the Naming Rules.  In any event, Council obtained independent advice from a valuer confirming that the proposal was unlikely to affect property values in the subject area.

Critical Dates

There are no critical dates associated with this proposal.  The applicant has been informed that the process for realigning locality boundaries is lengthy and may not be resolved until mid 2021.

Financial Implications

Costs of the direct mail to submitters (approximately $600) will be covered in the Governance Department’s operational budget.

Policy strategy and legislation

Naming processes are regulated by the Naming Rules which set out the process for naming and renaming localities, features and roads.

The State Government, through the Office of Geographic Names Victoria, is responsible for deciding naming issues.  Council, however, is responsible for processing requests.

link to strategic risks

Strategic Risk Community and Stakeholder Engagement - Ineffective stakeholder engagement resulting in compromised community outcomes and/or non-achievement of Council's strategic direction

Community and stakeholder engagement is important to ensure public safety, ease of delivery of postal and other service and public transparency.

 

Links to whittlesea 2040 and the CoUNCIL Plan

Goal                                       Liveable neighbourhoods

Key Direction                        Well-designed neighbourhoods and vibrant town centres

 

Declarations of Conflicts of Interest

Under Section 130 of the Local Government Act 2020 and Chapter 5.7 of the Governance Rules 2020, officers providing advice to Council are required to disclose any conflict of interest they have in a matter and explain the nature of the conflict.

The Responsible Officer reviewing this report, having made enquiries with relevant members of staff, reports that no disclosable interests have been raised in relation to this report.

Conclusion

That Council accept the recommendations of the Committee outlined in Attachment 1.

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Council resolves to:

1.       Accept the recommendations of the Committee of Council (the Committee) outlined in Attachment 1, following its consideration of public submissions on the proposal for the southern portion of 172 Greenhills Road in addition to 182 and 182W Greenhills Road Thomastown to be included in the locality of Bundoora (Attachment 2);

2.       Endorse the proposal that the locality boundary be changed to include the southern portion of 172 Greenhills Road in addition to 182 and 182W Greenhills Road Thomastown in the locality of Bundoora;

3.       Authorise the Chief Executive Officer to submit the proposal to the Office of Geographic Names Victoria (GNV) in accordance with the Naming Rules; and

4.       Write to all submitters who provided their contact details informing them of Council’s decision in relation to their submission as detailed in the attached table (Attachment 1) and informing them that the proposal has been endorsed by Council to be submitted to GNV.

 

Council Resolution

Moved:                       Administrator Duncan

Seconded:               Chairperson Wilson

 

THAT Council resolve to adopt the Recommendation.

Carried

 


Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                                 Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

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Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                                              Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

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Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                    Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

6.3       Strong Local Economy

Nil Reports


Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                    Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

6.4       Sustainable Environment

ITEM 6.4.1 For Decision - Greening Whittlesea City Forest Strategy 

Attachments:                        1        Greening Whittlesea Strategy

2        Stage 1 Consultation Report - Greening Whittlesea Strategy

3        Stage 2 Consultation Report - Greening Whittlesea Strategy

4        GWS Implementation Plan   

Responsible Officer:           Director Infrastructure & Environment

Author:                                  Manager Parks & Urban Design   

 

RECOMMENDATION SUMMARY

That Council resolve to:

1.    Adopt the Greening Whittlesea City Forest Strategy and endorse the document for public release; and

2.    Refer the Greening Whittlesea City Forest Strategy and implementation Plan, inclusive of Capital Works, to the 2021/22 budget approval process for consideration; and

3.    Write to all participating stakeholders and community members thanking them for their contribution and efforts in achieving this strategic outcome.

Brief overview

The Greening Whittlesea City Forest Strategy (GWS) is Council’s first city wide strategy for the protection, growth and management of our city’s trees.  The GWS contributes to several Whittlesea 2040 goals, most notably Sustainable Environment, and was developed with input from community, industry, academic, and business stakeholders.

Our city forest is threatened by continued urban expansion, densification of established urban areas, and changing climate conditions. Green cover is a key contributor to liveability in our city.  Through the GWS, Council can establish the high-level vision and commitment needed to realise this important natural resource’s potential to provide positive outcomes for our community and environment. A long-term legacy can be achieved by addressing imbalance and alleviating the impact of urban heat islands particularly in areas of high social and economic vulnerability.

impacts of recommendation

The GWS represents a new approach for our city forest, reflecting a need to secure our green cover and opportunities for naturally greening our city.  It will deliver a healthy, vibrant, and sustainable city forest contributing to a greener, cooler city.  It will guide us toward leading practice in protecting, planning, and managing our green cover. It will support our efforts in advocating and partnering with community, public authorities and private enterprise to cool the city through greening initiatives.

what measures will be put in place to manage impacts

The GWS facilitates a framework to manage green cover in a manner that reduces the public health, safety, and environmental risks associated with an unhealthy and inadequate city forest.  It offsets social and public health risks related to heat impacts, physical movement and social isolation. An implementation plan has been established to realise the strategic outcomes, with capital works, operational budget programs, and associated management plans to be developed.  Officers will monitor the Strategy outcomes and report to Council on a two year cycle. Key actions will be reported annually through service plan and corporate reporting processes.

 

Report

Introduction

The Greening Whittlesea City Forest Strategy (GWS) is Council’s first city wide strategy dedicated to the protection, growth and management of our city’s green cover assets, and is applicable to Council and non-council land.  It plays an important role in delivering on Council’s Whittlesea 2040 Vision through its goal, targets, and outcomes, but most directly impacts Goal 4, Sustainable Environment (Key direction 4.2.1 Climate ready – Tree Canopy “Proportion of tree canopy coverage within residential properties, Council reserves, public land and road reservations within the urban and rural areas of the municipality”.

 

The GWS facilitates a best practice framework to manage our green cover assets.  It was developed with input from a range of community, industry, academic, and business stakeholders, and aligns with other strategic work being undertaken by Council to reduce risk, increase Council’s resilience and deliver sustainable asset management.

The GWS outcomes will deliver a healthy, vibrant and sustainable city forest, contributing to a greener, cooler, more liveable city, and increasing our tree canopy cover which is a key indicator of our Whittlesea 2040 vision.

Background

The draft Greening Whittlesea Strategy was endorsed by Council for public consultation 28 April 2020. Due to COVID-19 the consultation process was modified and extended, and the Strategy is now presented to Council for formal adoption.   

Our City Forest Context

Our city forest is a key enabler for a healthy, liveable city.  It delivers a range of benefits for our residents, our fauna, and our wider environment by providing shade, cooling and cleaning the air, cleaning and slowing stormwater flows, positively impacting the physical and mental health of our residents, and providing habitat and food for our local fauna.  The importance of a vigorous and extensive city forest only increases in the face of ongoing urban growth and a changing climate, both of which offer significant challenges for the retention of existing green cover and the establishment of new green cover.

The GWS prioritises the strengthening of formal protections for existing green cover, the understanding of the broader community’s attitudes to the protection and expansion of green cover, and the considered, integrated planning of greening programs.  Relationships and partnerships with external stakeholders are key to achieving our strategic outcomes, with the Strategy providing direction to strengthen our capability in this area.  The success of our city forest is underpinned by the effective use of asset tools that support the management of our green cover assets throughout their entire useful life.

Our Existing City Forest

Today’s city forest is largely a product of past development activity, in the form of urban expansion and densification of established urban areas.  Development, especially residential estates, does actually deliver green cover within the public realm in the form of street trees, open space trees, and garden bed embellishments, however the related loss of mature trees generally results in an immediate loss of amenity which is not fully reinstated even when the developer provided trees reach maturity.  Council’s Street Tree Renewal and In-Fill programs seek to maintain the health and quantum of trees within the road reserve, while capital works projects relating to the delivery of open space, community facilities, and civil assets, as well as conservation planting programs, have all contributed to the portion of our city forest that falls on Council owned or managed land.  Influence over the city forest that falls on non-council land (e.g. private, government, agency, etc.) is limited by existing Planning and Building controls, and supplemented by Sustainability programs which provide trees for rural re-vegetation and incentives which seek to encourage tree plantings on private rural properties.

An assessment of our existing land cover was undertaken during the investigative phase of strategy development, with the results presented in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1. City of Whittlesea Land Cover.

 

At a high level, the land cover allocations shown above indicate the approximate size of our city forest (‘Tree Canopy’), and the potential for its expansion (‘Plantable Space’).  Having said this, the land cover assessment did not differentiate all elements of our city forest, instead focusing on tree canopy.  This means that green cover other than tree canopy is included in plantable space and therefore the total extent of our city forest would be slightly understated.  This reporting gap will be addressed through the GWS Implementation Plan.  ‘Impervious surfaces’ reflects the land area containing mainly roads and pathways, and ‘Unplantable Space’ reflects those areas covered by buildings and water bodies. 

While both of these land cover types would generally be considered unsuitable for planting, there is limited opportunity to add green cover through the application of various innovative greening initiatives such as roof gardens, pop-up parks, and other retrofitting activities.

As shown above in the previous Figure 1, our city forest currently provides tree canopy cover to approximately 19.72% of the city’s total land area.  This figure is strongly influenced by the heavily treed areas in the far north and centre east boundaries of our city (Kinglake National Park and Yan Yean Reservoir surrounds), with the city result falling below 9% without these areas.

Greener Spaces Better Places, originally the 202020 Vision program, is a national initiative that brings together academia, business, government, community groups and the green industry to share knowledge and find new ways to work together.  Their 2020 ‘Where Will All the Trees Be?’ report places Whittlesea 17th out of 32 Victorian LGAs for tree canopy cover.

Urban Heat

Urban densification and changing climate conditions are contributing to a hotter urban environment.  Figure 2 below provides a snapshot of those areas within our established urban suburbs that are hotter than their surrounding areas.  Urban heat data will be a key input for the prioritisation of increased green cover. 

It should be noted that the heat islands shown in the north of Epping and Wollert reflect the large expanses of open pasture in these areas.  Perversely, urban development is likely to improve the heat profile of these sparsely treed areas (Epping’s total canopy cover is under 7% and Wollert’s is just over 4%) through the delivery of passive and active open space, and other land covers that have a lower heat profile than the existing open pastures.

Figure 2. Heat Profile of Established Urban Suburbs.

 

Green Spaces Better Places provides an assessment of heat vulnerability which considers:

·    Heat: On the hottest days, how hot does the area get?

·    Health: Are people in the area healthy and able to cope with prolonged, increased heat?

·    Trends: Is the area currently losing, gaining or retaining its green space?

The assessment returns a rating from zero to five, with zero being the most vulnerable.  Whittlesea’s rating is 2.0 which is slightly lower that the state-wide rating of 2.55, and places us in the 15 most vulnerable Victorian LGAs assessed.

Proposal

Purpose of the Greening Whittlesea City Forest Strategy

The GWS represents a new approach for our city forest, reflecting a need to secure and expand our green cover to the benefit of current and future generations.  It will result in a city forest that thrives in the face of ongoing urban development and a changing climate which will bring hotter drier conditions and more frequent storm events, while contributing to a greener, cooler, resilient, and climate ready city.  It will guide us toward leading practice in protecting, planning, and managing our green cover. 

The strategy’s first priority is to provide benefit at the local level, with a focus on areas of high urban heat coupled with social and economic disadvantage.  It will prioritise making people’s lives better, improving liveability within connected communities across our city.  A key step in achieving this will be to undertake an Equity Focussed Health Impact Assessment (EfHIA) of the GWS implementation plan in order to support decision making. 

Opportunities to provide benefit at the suburb level and regional levels will also be pursued through broader/higher density planting activities.

Developing the Strategy

The GWS was developed using a detailed process that included:

·      A comprehensive review of relevant internal and external literature including Whittlesea 2040 findings and environmental/greening related strategies, metrics and academic studies.

·      An assessment of existing landcover and heat mapping at a whole of city level.

·      A comprehensive Communications and Engagement Plan delivered over two-stages, one informing the initial vision and priorities, and a second confirming the vision, outcomes, priority actions and indicators.

·      Preparation of an initial ‘consultation draft’ strategy.

·      Preparation of the ‘final draft’ strategy and accompanying Implementation Plan.

 

Council staff were well supported by:

·      Seed Consulting who provided expert input to the technical review, first round of consultation, and preparation of the consultation draft of the strategy document; and

·      ChatterBox Projects who facilitated stage 2 consultation activities.

GWS Goal and Outcomes, Indicators and Measures of Success

Figure 3 lists the Strategy’s Goal, Outcomes, Indicators and Measures. The Goal and Outcomes were developed across two stages of consultation in 2019 and 2020.


 

Figure 3: GWS Goal, Outcomes, and Measures

Our Goal [the Strategic Vision]:

'Our residents and our environment benefit from a diverse, colourful, and healthy city forest that connects people to people, people to nature, and people to place.'

 

Outcome

Indicator

Measure of success

Protected

Our city forest is protected from building and subdivision activity.

 

· Improved retention of trees and green cover.

 

· By 2030 at least 80% of trees and green cover on building and subdivision sites will be retained.

· At least 80% of River Red Gums on building and subdivision sites will be retained.

Managed

Our city forest is planned and managed using up to date data and industry best practice.

 

· Improved useful life of Council trees and green cover.

 

· By 2025 at least 90% of Council trees and green cover will be rated as ‘healthy’.

· By 2040 at least 90% of Council trees and green cover will achieve their useful life.

Enhanced

Our city forest grows and thrives year on year.

 

· Increased canopy cover.

 

· Increased green cover.

 

· By 2040 tree canopy cover will increase by a minimum of 20% across the city.

· By 2040 total green cover will increase by a minimum of 20% across the city.

Engaged

Our community and partners value trees and green cover, and work together to improve our city forest.

 

· Increased community stewardship of trees and green cover.

 

· Effective participation in existing and emerging greening groups, with new community groups established by 2030.

The GWS will contribute to the success of all 4 Whittlesea 2040 Goals as shown in Figure 4 below.

Figure 4: Delivering on Whittlesea 2040 Goals

Whittlesea 2040

GWS Contribution

Goal 1: Connected Community

Key directions:

·      A healthy and safe community

·      A participating community

Protected, Managed, Enhanced, Engaged

A diverse, colourful, and healthy city forest will encourage community use of open spaces, providing opportunities for socialisation, and improved physical and mental health and wellbeing.  An engaged and educated community will develop a sense of pride and ownership in our city forest and by extension our city.

Goal 2: Liveable Neighbourhoods

Key directions:

·      Well-designed neighbourhoods and vibrant town centres

Protected, Managed, Enhanced

Carefully planned and maintained green cover is a critical element of the urban landscape, softening the impact of constructed infrastructure and providing much needed visual and recreational amenity.

Goal 3: Strong Local economy

Key directions:

·      Increased local employment

·      Education opportunities for all

·      Successful, innovative local businesses

Protected, Managed, Enhanced, Engaged

Trees, gardens, and well treed streets can improve the value of property, with buyers willing to pay a premium for these attributes.

High visual and recreational amenity can help attract new or re-locating businesses.

Goal 4: Sustainable Environment

Key directions:

·      Valued natural landscapes and biodiversity

·      Climate ready

·      Leaders in clean, sustainable living

Protected, Managed, Enhanced, Engaged

Green cover, especially trees, provide a range of environmental benefits including cooling through shade and transpiration*; cleaning the air by trapping pollutants and absorbing carbon dioxide; slowing and filtering stormwater run-off; providing food and habitat for our local fauna; and contributing to a diversity of local flora.

* ‘Transpiration’ - the process of releasing water into the atmosphere through a tree’s leaves.

Action Planning

The actions listed in the GWS were developed through two stages of community and external stakeholder consultation.

The actions were reviewed and refined by staff from across the organisation with support from external consultants Loci Environment and Place.  They were mapped against the Strategy Outcomes and then categorised to help manage the delivery across the organisation.  These actions form the GWS Implementation Plan which allocates ownership, identifies support functions and resource requirements, and sets a priority-based timeframe for delivery.  Related capital works will be delivered under the relevant capital works investment program and identified funding needs will be incorporated into Council’s financial planning routines.

The action categories are: Legislation, Design & Assessment; Program Planning & Delivery; Asset Management; and Community & Partnership.  A fifth category, Enable & Support, describes actions that ensure our organisation has the resources, knowledge, and networks required to deliver the GWS outcomes.

A summary of key actions is provided below.

1.    Enable & Support

·   Appoint a Greening Whittlesea Lead to manage delivery of the Greening Whittlesea City Forest Strategy and related implementation plan.

·   Establish a Greening Whittlesea Practitioners Group to share knowledge, improve communications and processes, and support implementation of the strategy.

2.    Legislation, Design & Assessment

·   Seek legislative changes that improve protections for existing green cover, and increase opportunities for additional greening.

·   Establish best practice guidelines that protect existing green cover, facilitate healthy growth of new green cover, enhance biodiversity outcomes including habitat connectivity, and consider sustainable water use options.

·   Assess internal and external development and infrastructure works against best practice guidelines and standards, working with developers and project managers to achieve the best possible outcomes.

·   Review local laws and their enforcement to identify where green cover protection measures can be strengthened at all development stages.  Revise existing and/or introduce new local laws where appropriate.

3.    Program Planning & Delivery

·   Investigate if income from vegetation related bonds, fines, and fees (including tree removal fees) can be allocated solely to greening programs.  Develop processes for the transparent collection, tracking, and transfer of income as relevant.

·   Develop a City Landscape Masterplan.

·   Create a streetscape and public space planting approach guided by the City Landscape Masterplan and utilising an integrated planning and delivery approach aligning with capital works projects and incorporating plantable opportunities analysis; increased park plantings; habitat connectivity; urban heat amelioration; better use of transmission easements; and greater planting around and within sporting facilities, wetlands, waterways, and reserves.

·   Develop a comprehensive Ten-Year Street Tree Planting Program which increases annual tree planting through, high-profile spaces, main road and residential street programs, prioritising urban heat amelioration and aligning with the Road Rehabilitation program (road renewals) where appropriate.

·   Deliver planting programs in-line with established budgets and project plans.

4.    Asset Management

·    Record all existing and future trees in Council’s asset management system (Assetic) using timely input from tree audits, Council's capital works program, subdivision developments, and all other processes resulting in the vestment of green cover assets.  At a minimum each individual tree record should include planting date; end of useful life (planned replacement date); species; location; health, maintenance schedule and history; physical asset value; and environmental benefit value.

·    Apply asset management principles to green cover throughout the full useful life, incorporating maintenance workflows in Assetic.

·    Develop an interactive mapping platform that integrates relevant environmental data to support integrated evaluation and decision making, communications, and education.  The platform should provide both internal-facing and public-facing interfaces.  Data presented should include Council trees and their assessment status; mapped conservation areas; tree canopy and green cover progress; urban heat profiles; biodiversity and water sensitive urban design assets; flood mapping; and other relevant data.

·    Review and update Council tree planting lists to increase species diversity and fire resistance, and to incorporate native wildlife requirements and climate change resilience and adaptability.

5.    Community & Partnership

·   Develop a communications plan aimed at increasing awareness and support for trees and greening, and to explain the benefit of greening to community well-being, environmental resilience, and economic health.

·   Develop an Advocacy Prospectus inclusive of a targeted Partnership Engagement Plan to guide focused advocacy, grant and partnership opportunities, with Government, business and philanthropic organisations.

·   Assess community behaviours, perceptions, and barriers regarding tree and green cover retention, protection and planting on private land, and review the effectiveness of previous incentive schemes given the findings.  Reinstate or develop new incentives where appropriate, including incentives for exceeding legislated requirements.

·   Engage with the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation and the broader indigenous community to explore opportunities for the adoption of traditional land management practices; participate in planning and delivery of greening actions; communicate a connection to Country; and to increase pathways and opportunities for indigenous employment.

·   Continue to actively expand opportunities for community engagement with green cover as part of Council’s new works projects, existing community programs and events, citizen science projects and public art programs, inviting and encouraging culturally diverse community and business involvement in planning and implementation of planting programs.

·   Work with major non-Council landowners (private and public) to develop a portfolio of greening projects; identify and target current and emerging offset programs to support mass planting opportunities within the city; and participate in local and regional greening initiatives.

Asset Investment

GWS capital works will predominantly relate to the provision of the trees and complementary greenery required to satisfy our various planting programs and subsequently meet our strategic green cover targets.  There may also be circumstances that require the provision of supporting infrastructure that ensures the protection and health of new and existing green cover.  These activities will be incorporated into Council’s New Works Program.

Council currently owns and manages over 103,000 trees in road reserves and open space areas (this number is understated as asset audits are yet to be completed); 540 hectares of conservation land and over 1000 hectares of public open space (combined, that’s more space than the suburb of Thomastown); and over 1700 garden beds.  Based on recent activity, development, street tree planting, and capital works result in approximately 6500 to 7000 additional public realm trees per year.  On top of this, incentives and revegetation programs see an additional 500 trees and 4350 plants provided on private rural properties per year.

While there are many factors which would influence the final number, simply applying an average amount of cover per tree (14.5 M2) the GWS could see an additional 1,118,000 trees planted within our city, of which approximately 47% would be on Council land and the remaining 53% on non-council land (e.g. private, Government, agency). This estimate aligns with other Local Government Initiatives, for example the City of Brimbank million trees program.

Asset Maintenance and Renewal

Applying best practice management processes to green cover within an asset management context will be critical to achieving and preserving a diverse, healthy, resilient, and sustainable city forest.

Trees as a public realm asset must be managed in a manner that recognises and mitigates risks to both public health and safety, and surrounding infrastructure. Management throughout the asset’s useful life expectancy and renewal at the end of this period, or where an asset’s condition (health) demands, is a key mechanism for identifying and addressing risk, and requires a strong commitment to an effective and ongoing inspection and maintenance regime.

The GWS implementation plan calls for the strengthening of related processes, and greater utilisation of available systems in order to plan and execute the required routines and allows central tracking and reporting of progress and outcomes.

Consultation

Consultation on the Strategy occurred over two stages.

Stage 1 was conducted from September to November 2019, and sought community and stakeholder input that formed the basis of the first draft version of the Strategy.  Consultation activities included interviews, workshops, on-line surveys, and a presence at the Welcome Expo.  Around 147 stakeholders were invited to participate [85 internal + at least 62 externals], and 153 community members submitted survey responses by the initial cut-off date of 20 November 2019.  The results were very positive with 87% of option responses and 96% of verbatim comments being supportive[1] of the concept of greening. 

Stage 2 was conducted from July to September 2020 and is the basis for this report. This engagement work sought to gauge community and stakeholder reaction to the draft strategy and was centred around the following points:

·   Clarity: Is the language and messaging clear and easy to understand?

·   Contribution: Will the targets, outcomes, and priority actions contribute to the vision (goal)?

·   Completeness: Have we missed anything?  Is there more that we need to do?

Due to COVID19 restrictions, the Stage 2 consultation approach was changed from a planned series of face to face workshops and community events, to a wholly online activity.  This revised approach saw the establishment of an online platform which provided the opportunity to present the draft strategy, engage in dialogue with the community, and receive structured feedback via a survey. 

Through the use of this platform, the presentation of a webinar, delivery of community forums, and promotional posts on Council’s social media platforms, Stage 2 consultation was effective in eliciting over 2,140 responses from across the community.  There were 297 comments and replies, and 932 reactions on social media, as wells as 919 individual visitors to Council’s ‘Greening Whittlesea’ Project page, resulting in 86 survey responses and additional feedback and comments from 33 people via the webinar, workshops and the website Q&A function.

Overall the results were positive with:

·   85.4% of survey respondents finding the vision and outcomes to be clear.

·   82.1% of survey respondents agreeing with the vision and outcomes.

·   92.7% of survey and social media verbatim comments generally being supportive.

The key findings across both consultation stages indicated that:

The Greening Whittlesea City Forest Strategy should prioritise:

1.  Education around the value and benefit of greening and green assets.

2.  Environmental outcomes including climate change response, ongoing resilience, biodiversity, and habitat.

3.  Community/Government/Business/Council partnerships.

The Greening Whittlesea City Forest Strategy action plan should include actions that will:

4.  Provide access to a broad range of informational and instructional resources to build a better understanding of greening and green assets, and support the public’s efforts to increase greening on private property.

5.  Protect existing green assets in both the public and private realm.

6.  Increase the amount of green assets in both the public and private realm.

7.  Improve liveability by providing shade, reducing heat, and increasing visual and functional amenity.

8.  Mitigate as far as possible the impact of barriers to protecting existing green assets and increasing green assets in both the public and private realm.

9.  Explore economic opportunities such as productive plantings (e.g. orchards)

Verbatim comments also expressed the following community sentiment:

·   Council should employ a diverse range of species, think broader than trees, and plantings need to be appropriate for the local environment.

·   Plantings must be maintained.

·   The target should be bolder than the stated 20% canopy increase.

Structured feedback received via the online survey and workshops, together with the community sentiment expressed through social media, provides a sound basis for moving forward with finalisation of the Greening Whittlesea City Forest Strategy.

Separate Participation and Engagement Findings reports have been created for each stage and are attached for information.

Financial Implications

All costs will be incorporated into Council's formal financial planning processes.

As noted above GWS capital works will predominantly relate to the provision of trees and complementary greenery.  It should be noted that the capital expenditure value assumes planting will be the only method of increasing our green cover.  Trees already planted will contribute to increased green cover as they grow towards maturity.  Council's existing tree planting programs are currently budgeted at $700,000 per annum with 2020/21 budgeted at $651,500.

Capital Expenditure

The table below shows the cumulative estimated cost of planting 525,000 trees across the life of the strategy.  This cost is offset against the value of existing planting programs to show the cumulative value of additional funds required.

The table below provides a 4 year annual capital expenditure plan offset against existing planting programs to show additional funds to be sought.

Operational Expenditure

The table below shows the estimated impact that 525,000 additional trees will have on current operational costs and includes the establishment of a new ‘Greening Whittlesea Lead’ permanent full-time position to manage delivery of the strategy.  The values shown reflect the changing annual cost at 5 year intervals, they are not cumulative. 

The actions of owners and managers of non-council land is key to achieving our GWS green cover growth targets.  The GWS Implementation Plan includes actions to incentivise the retention, protection, and planting of green cover on non-council land.  The full implications of these actions are yet to be determined, but for comparison, similar Land Management & Biodiversity schemes include an Environmental Works Grant with an annual budget of $22,000 and a Sustainable Land Management Rebate Scheme with an annual budget of $107,000 which includes a revegetation component.

Engagement with, and the involvement of, our community have also been identified as important to the successful realisation of the GWS vision.  Council currently budgets $25,000 per annum for community programs, and it is likely that this will increase as we seek to foster a greater level of connection around greening our city.

Several actions from the GWS Implementation Plan are likely to require external support, which may exceed the normal budget for this activity.

The CROWE Tree Management audit and review by management was undertaken in 2019 and the implementation plan is in place.  Relevant actions from the GWS and proposed portfolio growth will be incorporated into the implementation plan and any budget implications will be referred to the Council budget and Long-term Financial Plan.

Income

The table below shows income received per financial year.

Greening related income varies with building and construction activity, and generally relates to the loss of trees.  The table above shows an average annual income of $452,621, however if the extremely high 2017-18 value is removed this drops to $253,538 per annum.  Where trees are lost to accommodate building and construction activities, Council calculates each tree’s value and makes a charge accordingly.  These charges can relate to large scale vegetation off-set agreements for subdivision activities, or smaller scale arrangements for single lot residential and commercial development activities.  Funds are received into either a defined reserve account with an accruing balance and proscribed uses [such as Developer contribution schemes], or general accounts where they are used to off-set related works and excess funds are transferred to general revenue.  The GWS Implementation plan includes actions to investigate the establishment of a ‘greening’ reserve fund that would accumulate non-proscribed income for use in a broad range of greening initiative.

Income is also received from fines relating to interference with Council trees.  However, despite ongoing tree loss due to obvious vandalism, this income is currently negligible.  The GWS Implementation Plan includes a review of local laws with a view to strengthening protections which through subsequent enforcement activity could see an increase in related income.

As noted, this income is generally triggered by an actual or expected/planned loss of vegetation and as such it only funds our attempts at maintaining the status quo of our green cover.  Recovering from the loss of vegetation, particularly in the case of tree canopy, can take many years.

Advocacy, building of strong partnerships to secure funding and resourcing, and grants, form a key part of achieving the GWS Goals. 

Policy strategy and legislation

The Greening Whittlesea City Forest Strategy will be incorporated into the higher level Integrated Strategic Framework strategies which will be developed over the 2021/22 year.

The following Council strategies and corporate actions relate to the GWS:

·     Whittlesea 2040 - The GWS contributes to Council's vision W2040 a place for all through all four related Goals and multiple Key Directions with a particular emphasis on Sustainable Environment.

·     2019/2020 Council Plan Action - Draft Greening Whittlesea City Forest Strategy available for community consultation.

·     The GWS shares common goals with the following:

Open Space Strategy August 2018

Biodiversity Strategy 2019 - 2029

Health and Wellbeing Partnership Plan 2017 - 2021 [and future Public Health Plan]

Greening Our Streets Street Tree Management Plan 2019

·     Actions from the GWS will inform Council’s Parks & Open Space Service Plan.

The following State level strategies and legislation are relevant to the GWS.

·     Plan Melbourne 2017-2050.

·     Living Melbourne; our metropolitan urban forest.

link to strategic risks

Strategic Risk Climate Change - Failure to mitigate or adapt to the risks of climate change

Green cover, especially trees, can play a significant role in mitigating the effects of a changing climate.  Our city forest will provide cooling in the face of increasing heat; contribute to healthier waterways and control erosion by slowing and filtering storm water run-off; and provide security for local fauna in the form of habitat and food supply.

Strategic Risk Service Delivery - Inability to plan for and provide critical community services and infrastructure impacting on community wellbeing

The integrated planning and implementation of our city forest will ensure that green cover assets are provide where they are needed - in areas of high urban heat coupled with social and economic vulnerability; and to encourage and support the use of public open space by, for example, providing respite from heat through the shading of walking tracks and passive recreation areas.

Strategic Risk Life Cycle Asset Management - Failure to effectively plan for the construction, on-going maintenance and renewal of Council’s assets

The GWS advocates for the application of best practice management processes to green cover within an asset management context.  This will be critical to achieving and preserving the diverse, healthy, resilient, and sustainable city forest needed to respond to our changing climate conditions.  It will allow effective planning throughout the green cover asset’s useful life (ULE), guiding maintenance and inspection routines, replacement programs, and repurposing the asset post ULE.

 

Links to whittlesea 2040 and the CoUNCIL Plan

Goal                                       Sustainable environment

Key Direction                        Climate ready

 

The Greening Whittlesea City Forest Strategy provides focus on our city forest, reflecting a need to secure and expand our green cover to create liveable neighbourhoods benefiting current and future generations.  Delivery of the strategy and implementation plan will result in a city forest that thrives in the face of ongoing urban development and a changing climate which will bring hotter drier conditions and more frequent storm events, while contributing to a greener, cooler, resilient, and climate ready city.

Our city forest, as expressed through the strategic goal (vision), delivers outcomes that strongly align with community feedback received during Whittlesea 2040 consultation, most relevant of which is: ‘We highly value our natural spaces; our trees, landscapes, waterways and the wildlife around us’; and ‘The City of Whittlesea’s superb landscapes and natural environment are an enduring source of pride’

The strategy provides a reference point for Council to make informed decisions regarding investments that support delivery of the strategic outcomes.

Declarations of Conflicts of Interest

Under Section 130 of the Local Government Act 2020 and Chapter 5.7 of the Governance Rules 2020, officers providing advice to Council are required to disclose any conflict of interest they have in a matter and explain the nature of the conflict.

The Responsible Officer reviewing this report, having made enquiries with relevant members of staff, reports that no disclosable interests have been raised in relation to this report.

Conclusion

The Greening Whittlesea City Forest Strategy, together with its implementation plan, drives the development of the strong protections, best practice management process, integrated planning, and partnerships necessary to grow and sustain a city forest capable of providing noticeable, long term benefit to our city and its diverse communities.

GWS will be a long-term legacy project, throughout its 20 year life, the strategy will address the imbalance from suburb to suburb within our current city forest, planning for consistent levels of amenity, and alleviating the impact of urban heat islands particularly in areas of high social and economic vulnerability.

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Council resolve to:

1.       Adopt the Greening Whittlesea City Forest Strategy and endorse the document for public release; and

2.       Refer the Greening Whittlesea City Forest Strategy and implementation Plan, inclusive of Capital Works, to the 2021/22 budget approval process for consideration; and

3.       Write to all participating stakeholders and community members thanking them for their contribution and efforts in achieving this strategic outcome.

Council Resolution

Moved:                       Chairperson Wilson

Seconded:               Administrator Duncan

 

THAT Council resolve to:

1.       Adopt the Greening Whittlesea City Forest Strategy and endorse the document for public release;

2.       Refer the Greening Whittlesea City Forest Strategy and implementation Plan, inclusive of Capital Works, to the 2021/22 budget approval process for consideration;

3.       Write to all participating stakeholders and community members thanking them for their contribution and efforts in achieving this strategic outcome;

4.       Provide a copy of the Greening Whittlesea City Forest Strategy to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, the Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio and to all local Members of Parliament; and

5.       Provide a copy of the Greening Whittlesea City Forest Strategy to all abutting municipalities, namely Hume, Mitchell, Murrindindi, Nillumbik, Banyule, Darebin, and Moreland.

Carried

 


Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                                 Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

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Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                                 Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

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Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                                 Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

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Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                                              Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

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Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                    Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

ITEM 6.4.2 For Decision - Petition Response - Remove Existing Naturestrip Trees in Samuel Court, Bundoora 

Attachments:                        1        Google Street View - Samuel Ct, Bundoora   

Responsible Officer:           Director Infrastructure & Environment

Author:                                  Manager Parks & Urban Design    

 

RECOMMENDATION SUMMARY

That Council resolve to:

1.       Remove two trees identified as having very poor growth formation.

2.       Adjust the pruning program from biennial to annual.

3.       Include Samuel Court on the intermediate sweeping program to increase the street sweeping frequency.

4.       Monitor and review the growth response of the street trees.

5.       Advise the head petitioner of the agreed actions.

Brief overview

·        Council has received a petition from residents requesting the removal of street trees from Samuel Court, Bundoora.

·        An arboricultural assessment has been completed and found that most trees in the street were healthy, exhibited good to fair growth formation and have an anticipated useful life expectancy of 30 to 60 years. Two trees were found to have poor growth formation and are recommended for removal and replacement.

·        The inspection also considered residents concerns regarding leaf litter and tree clearance from houses. It was found that minimal and inconsistent housing setbacks have contributed to the limited clearance. To address concerns, Samuel Court will be added to the annual ‘street tree pruning program’ and the ‘intermediate sweeping program’.  

·        The full removal of trees is not supported or recommended. A revised service response that addressed concerns on pruning and street sweeping services has been implemented and the head petitioned consulted.

rationale for recommendation

Council has a current street tree stock of approximately 100,000 trees, the management of which is supported by the Council adopted Street Tree Management Plan 2019 (STMP). The social, environmental and economic benefits of street trees make them an inherently valuable asset.  

The existing street trees in Samuel Court have been assessed and provide a high level of amenity to the neighbourhood. Historical evidence of tree complaints is minimal. Current service contract levels can be adjusted to respond to these trees by increased street tree pruning frequency that will achieve better private property clearance. The service level of street sweeping can also be adjusted to respond to concerns around excess leaf and debris shedding.

impacts of recommendation

Council’s tree assets continue to be managed in a sustainable way consistent with the Council adopted Street Tree Management Plan 2019, and key concerns of residents are addressed.

what measures will be put in place to manage impacts

A range of available service programs were explored that addressed the overarching concerns of residents through the trees service providers and Council’s City Presentation street sweeping services. The proposed response will be monitored by Council’s Parks and Urban Design Department to assess tree responses.  Should the current concerns persist this street may be considered in future years for the Street Tree Renewal Program.

 

Report

Introduction

A petition was received by sixteen residents in Samuel Court Bundoora requesting the removal and replacement of the existing nature strip trees. Council officers investigated the request looking at core issues and engaged an independent arboricultural assessor to evaluate the status of current tree assets. Issues raised in the petition were resident concerns focused mainly on tree pruning related to property clearance and mess created from excessive leaf shed.

Background

Samuel Court, Bundoora has a largely homogenous streetscape dominated by 20 year old Chinese Elm trees planted in 2001.  Chinese Elms (Ulmus parvifolia) are a deciduous tree listed on Council’s approved street tree species list and classified as a ‘small’ to ‘medium; tree. The species is widely planted across the municipality and represents approximately 1.5% of total street trees. These trees are all proactively managed and maintained by Council.

A petition was received in on 22 July signed by sixteen residents of the street requesting that Council remove the existing nature strip trees and replant with new trees as part of the Street Tree Renewal Plan. The grounds on which the signatories believe that the current trees are unsuitable include:

·    Trees dropping debris including leaves

·    Frequency of street sweeping

·    Leaf shedding become unsafe for foot traffic and waterways

·    Canopy spread inconsistent due to pruning focused on roadside and lighting

·    Branches cracking under wind and weather

·    Recent removals of individual trees

An independent tree assessment was undertaken by Greenwood Consulting to assess the current health status and value of the street trees at Samuel Court.  This report found that most trees, with the exception of two in the street, were in good health.  These two trees were recommended for removal. The report identified the overall value of the street trees to be $963,344.

Council officers also investigated the Samuel Court trees to assess property clearances in line with the guidelines set out in the Street Tree Management Plan (STMP). In many instances property clearances were insufficient, and there is significant inconsistency to property setbacks on the street. These trees will be moved to an annual pruning cycle to continue to maintain the assets and improve private property clearances.

There have been three known claims against Council for tree related damage in Samuel Court, Bundoora.  This includes two recent claims in 2019 and 2020 against Council for tree root damage.  These have been dealt by Council’s Risk Unit through Council’s claim process and the individual claimants.  This has resulted in the removal of three trees as an abatement measure for any further damage following detailed engineering investigations of both properties.

The STMP defines the levels of service provided for Council’s street trees and the criteria by which Council does and does not remove trees. The specific details noted in the petition request, along with previous history/interactions with the residents of Samuel Court, advocacy by the head petitioner and technical investigations of the trees, have all been considered in the proposed response.

Proposal

The petition request for removal and replacement of street trees is not supported. In lieu of removal and replacement of all street trees it is proposed to;

·    Remove two trees identified as having very poor growth formation – actioned November/December 2020.

·    Adjust the pruning program from biennial to annual frequency – actioned inline with scheduling commencing September 2021.

·    Refer Samuel Court to the intermediate sweeping program to increase the street sweeping frequency – actioned inline with scheduling commencing 2021-22 financial year.

·    Monitor and review the response of the street trees – actioned inline with scheduling commencing 2021-22 financial year.

·    Advise head petitioner of agreed actions

Consultation

Consultation for this petition has been via the head petitioner, in line with Council’s guidance on petitions management. This has included both verbal updates and written correspondence to the head petitioner.  Council officers have also responded to further representations for updates by individual signatories.

Consultation has also occurred with Council’s City Presentation Department to include Samuel Court, Bundoora in the intermediate sweeping program, thereby addressing the collective concerns of residents on excessive leaf shedding of these trees.

Critical Dates

There are no critical dates associated with this report.

Financial Implications

The independent review and assessment of all street trees in Samuel Court noted that the present value of all trees is $963,344.

The cost of removal and replacement of all street trees is estimated at $34,904. 

The cost of retaining the current established trees and adjusting the current pruning regime to annual is $1,425 per annum.

The cost of adding Samuel Court to the Intermediate sweeping program is $1,000 per annum.

Policy strategy and legislation

The proposal to retain street trees at Samuel Court, Bundoora is consistent with the Council Plan, Council’s STMP (2019), Natural and Built Shade Policy (2016), Environmental Sustainability Strategy (2013), and Whittlesea 2040 – A Place for All (2018).

link to strategic risks

Strategic Risk Community and Stakeholder Engagement - Ineffective stakeholder engagement resulting in compromised community outcomes and/or non-achievement of Council's strategic direction

The City of Whittlesea STMP outlines how Council shall respond to requests for tree removal from the community. It communicates the criteria and information requirements whereby Council will support tree removals. In the case of Samuel Court Council officers have consulted with the head petitioner and undertook investigations in a timeframe allowable within the constraints of COVID19 service adjustments.

Strategic Risk Climate Change - Failure to mitigate or adapt to the risks of climate change

Council has committed to increasing tree canopy to mitigate heat. Council’s STMP provides guidance on assessment and management of trees.  

 

Links to whittlesea 2040 and the CoUNCIL Plan

Goal                                       Sustainable environment

Key Direction                        Climate ready

 

The proposal acknowledges the value of streetscapes in our local community and the contribution of these trees to local amenity, biodiversity and urban shading/cooling.

Declarations of Conflicts of Interest

Under Section 130 of the Local Government Act 2020 and Chapter 5.7 of the Governance Rules 2020, officers providing advice to Council are required to disclose any conflict of interest they have in a matter and explain the nature of the conflict.

The Responsible Officer reviewing this report, having made enquiries with relevant members of staff, reports that no disclosable interests have been raised in relation to this report.

Conclusion

The petition request for removal and replacement of street trees is not supported. A range of additional service measures have now been implemented to address the concerns of petitioners which mitigate the impacts on amenity of the street. Samuel Court Street Trees will be monitored and a review to the response of increased pruning frequency will occur in three years.

 

RECOMMENDATION

That Council resolve to:

1.       Remove two trees identified as having very poor growth formation;

2.       Adjust the pruning program from biennial to annual;

3.       Include Samuel Court on the intermediate sweeping program to increase the street sweeping frequency;

4.       Monitor and review the growth response of the street trees; and

5.       Advise the head petitioner of the agreed actions.

 

Council Resolution

Moved:                       Administrator Duncan

Seconded:               Chairperson Wilson

 

THAT Council resolve to adopt the Recommendation.

Carried

 


Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                                              Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

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Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                    Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

6.5       High Performing Organisation

ITEM 6.5.1 For Decision - Unconfirmed Minutes of Audit & Risk Committee Meeting and Proposed Amendment to Committee Charter 

Attachments:                        1        Unconfirmed Minutes of Audit & Risk Committee Meeting - 25 February 2021   

Responsible Officer:           Executive Manager Governance

Author:                                  Internal Compliance Officer   

 

RECOMMENDATION SUMMARY

That Council resolve to:

1.       Note the Unconfirmed Minutes of the Audit & Risk Committee meeting held on 25 February 2021.

2.       Amend the Audit & Risk Committee Charter to include the following clause:  Personal Interest Returns - In the interests of transparency and good governance, Independent Committee members will voluntarily complete Personal Interest Returns. Any declarations made in these Returns will not be made public, however, will be circulated amongst Committee members, the CEO and the Executive Manager Governance. Personal Interest Returns will be completed in March and September each year.

Brief overview

As required under Council’s Audit & Risk Committee Charter, this report presents the Unconfirmed Minutes of the Audit & Risk Committee meeting held on 25 February 2021.

At their meeting on 25 February 2021, Independent members of the Committee agreed that in the interests of transparency and good governance they would voluntarily complete Personal Interest Returns, subject to Council approving an amendment to the Audit & Risk Committee Charter.

rationale for recommendation

Council is required to comply with the requirements of the Audit & Risk Committee Charter and the Local Government Act 2020.

Any amendments to the Audit & Risk Committee Charter require the approval of Council.

impacts of recommendation

Council will comply with its Audit & Risk Committee Charter and meet its legislative requirements.

what measures will be put in place to manage impacts

Provision of Audit & Risk Committee meeting minutes, ensures that the Council is regularly informed of the operations of the Audit & Risk Committee.

 

Report

Background

The Audit & Risk Committee is an independent advisory committee of Council and its role is to report to Council and provide appropriate advice and recommendations on matters presented to it.  It acts in this capacity by monitoring, reviewing and advising on issues within its scope of responsibility and assisting Council’s governance obligations to its community.

The Audit & Risk Committee meets at least four times a year and its Charter requires that minutes from Committee meetings are presented to Council.

The Audit & Risk Committee considered a number of reports at the meeting held on 25 February 2021, as well as confirming minutes from the previous meeting held on 12 November 2020.

Main agenda items included:

·    In-camera discussion with the CEO

·    Audit & Risk Committee Work Plan

·    Financial Report:

-     Financial Performance Report for Period Ended 31 December 2020

-     Shell Annual Financial Report for the year ending 30 June 2021

-     New Accounting Standards – Update for the year ending 30 June 2021

·    Risk Management Update

·    Fraud Risk Assessment

·    Annual IT Penetration Test – Progress Report

·    Internal Audit:

-     Internal Audit Status Report

-     Internal Audit Reviews: Grants Program Management & Asset Maintenance Essential Safety Measures

-     Outstanding Action Items Report from Previous Internal Audits

-     Child Safe Audit Implementation Update

·    External Audit Strategy

·    Corporate Credit Card Policy and Staff Expense Reimbursement Policy

·    Internal Compliance Reviews

·    Quarterly Compliance Update – Monitoring Compliance with the Governance Principles

·    Procurement Update

·    External Agency Examinations

·    Local Government Performance Reporting Framework Quarter 2 – Performance Report

·    Audit & Risk Committee Report to Council Template

A copy of the minutes from the 25 February 2021 Audit & Risk Committee meeting is attached (Attachment 1).

 

Proposed Amendment to the Audit & Risk Committee Charter

At their meeting on 25 February 2021, Independent members of the Committee agreed that in the interests of transparency and good governance they would voluntarily complete Personal Interest Returns.

To reflect this agreement, it is intended to insert the following clause into the Audit & Risk Committee Charter:

·    Personal Interest Returns - In the interests of transparency and good governance, Independent Committee members will voluntarily complete Personal Interest Returns. Any declarations made in these Returns will not be made public, however, will be circulated amongst Committee members, the CEO and the Executive Manager Governance. Personal Interest Returns will be completed in March and September each year.

Any amendments proposed to the Audit & Risk Committee Charter require the approval of Council.

Policy strategy and legislation

The Audit & Risk Committee is established in accordance with Division 8, Section 53 and 54 of the Local Government Act 2020.

The Committee’s responsibilities and requirements are outlined in the Audit & Risk Committee Charter.

link to strategic risks

Strategic Risk Governance - Ineffective governance of Council’s operations and activities resulting in either a legislative or policy breach

The Audit & Risk Committee assists Council in monitoring its governance requirements and provides advice to Council to assist with fulfilling its oversight responsibilities.

 

Links to whittlesea 2040 and the CoUNCIL Plan

Goal                                       High-performing organisation

Key Direction                        More informed Council decisions based on strong advice and community consultation and engagement

 

 The establishment of the Audit & Risk Committee and the reports it receives are reflective of Council’s commitment to the implementation of good governance principles. The Committee provides advice to Council to assist with fulfilling its oversight responsibilities for the financial and non-financial reporting process; internal controls; the audit process; risk management; and Council’s process for monitoring compliance with legislation, regulations and the Code of Conduct.

Declarations of Conflicts of Interest

Under Section 130 of the Local Government Act 2020 and Chapter 5.7 of the Governance Rules 2020, officers providing advice to Council are required to disclose any conflict of interest they have in a matter and explain the nature of the conflict.

The Responsible Officer reviewing this report, having made enquiries with relevant members of staff, reports that no disclosable interests have been raised in relation to this report.

Conclusion

The Audit & Risk Committee met on 25 February 2021. The minutes of that meeting are attached to this report for noting by Council.

An amendment to the Audit & Risk Committee Charter is proposed to reflect the willingness of Independent Committee members to complete Personal Interest Returns.

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Council resolve to:

1.       Note the Unconfirmed Minutes of the Audit & Risk Committee meeting held on 25 February 2021.

2.       Amend the Audit & Risk Committee Charter to include the following clause:   Personal Interest Returns - In the interests of transparency and good governance, Independent Committee members will voluntarily complete Personal Interest Returns. Any declarations made in these Returns will not be made public, however, will be circulated amongst Committee members, the CEO and the Executive Manager Governance. Personal Interest Returns will be completed in March and September each year.

 

Council Resolution

Moved:                       Chairperson Wilson

Seconded:               Administrator Duncan

 

THAT Council resolve to adopt the Recommendation.

Carried

 


Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                                 Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

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Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                    Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

ITEM 6.5.2 For Decision - 2020/21 Growing Suburbs Fund - Project Applications 

Attachments:                        1        Priority Projects for Application   

Responsible Officer:           Director Infrastructure & Environment

Author:                                  Team Leader Business Support   

 

RECOMMENDATION SUMMARY

That Council approve the following eight projects listed in priority order for application to the 2020/21 round of the Growing Suburbs Fund:

1.       Norris Bank Reserve (West Precinct), Bundoora for $600,000

2.       Kelynack Recreation Reserve Upgrade, Mill Park for $675,000

3.       Whittlesea Public Gardens, Lalor – Skate Park and Urban Zone for $650,000

4.       Redleap Recreation Reserve Upgrade, Mill Park for $525,000

5.       Streetscape Improvements on Gorge Road, South Morang for $475,000

6.       Quarry Hills Regional Park, South Morang – Trails for $565,000

7.       Community Energy Efficiency Program for $375,000

8.       Mernda Adventure Park Public Amenity for $150,000

Brief overview

Applications for the 2020/21 round of the Growing Suburbs Fund (GSF) opened on 27 January 2021.  It is proposed that Council submit applications for eight projects, totalling $4,015,000 which will need to be matched by Council funding.  The GSF guidelines require that a council resolution be made to support the project applications in priority order.

rationale for recommendation

A working group containing a cross section of Council officers identified eight priority projects from the 4 Year New Works Program that best aligned with the GSF Guidelines.  Other projects were identified and presented to the officers from the Department of Jobs Precincts and Regions (DJPR), however they were not supported and didn’t meet the necessary criteria in the guidelines.

All project proposals have been discussed with the funding agency as required in the grant guidelines.  Applications for projects that have not been discussed with DJPR will not be considered by them.

The guidelines place a strong emphasis on projects that are ready to commence work within 18 months of the funding announcement (expected in late April 2021) and for construction to be completed within 24 months of commencement of works.

impacts of recommendation

The proposed eight projects listed above amount to a total application amount of $4,015,000 and Council must contribute a matching funding amount to that of the Growing Suburbs Fund application.  All projects must commence no later than within 18 months of the funding announcement (expected in late April 2021) and for construction to be completed within 24 months of commencement of works.

The nominated projects are currently listed with forecast budgets in the 4 Year New Works Program. If the grant applications are successful, this will result in offsets to Council’s future New Works Program budget of up to $4,015,000 to bring forward future infrastructure requirements. 

what measures will be put in place to manage impacts

Due to the closing date of the grant applications (10 March 2021) and the next available Council meeting not until 6 April 2021, the Department of Jobs Precincts and Regions have accepted a letter from the Chief Executive Officer advising of the report to Council with the recommended project applications in priority order, with confirmation from the Council minutes to be submitted after the Council meeting.

 

 

Report

Introduction

Applications for the 2020/21 round of the Growing Suburbs Fund (GSF) opened on 27 January 2021.  It is proposed that Council submit an application for eight (8) projects, totalling $4,015,000.  This report seeks Councils approval to proceed with the GSF application based on the proposed priority.  The listed order of priority is a requirement for the Department of Jobs Precincts and Regions (DJPR) to understand Council’s relative priority of the projects.

Background

The GSF program is aimed towards funding critical local infrastructure needs to promptly respond to the pressures experienced by interface communities by bringing forward local infrastructure projects.  It will support interface councils to better meet the needs of their diverse communities and improve amenity, liveability and resilience of these communities.

The GSF is open to six peri-urban and ten interface councils including the City of Whittlesea and will fund a mix of projects that have a direct benefit to communities across the following broad infrastructure categories:

·  Community health and well-being

·  Early education, learning and training

·  Sport, recreation and leisure facilities that have dedicated community space and support multi use purposes

·  Environmental and climate change resilience

·  Place-making, civic amenity and community connecting.

The maximum allocation to any of the 16 eligible councils is 15% of the $50 million fund (i.e. $7.5 million).  The City of Whittlesea has been very successful in past GSF Rounds and on average has successfully received $5-$6 million per round from this funding program.

It is important to note that the funding agency, the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR) will award the entire $50 million fund from late April 2021.  Eligible councils must be prepared to enter into funding agreements with DJPR during April/May 2021, and all successful projects must commence construction within 18 months of the funding announcement.  The emphasis is on projects ready to proceed and construction must be completed within 24 months of commencement of works.

A key requirement of this funding program is the requirement to discuss all eligible project applications with DJPR before submission of the applications.  A proposed list of projects has been discussed with DJPR and eight applications have been supported for application to the GSF.

The GSF will generally not fund:

·  Projects that have already commenced construction

·  Land acquisition

·  Projects that are sporting pavilions without a dedicated community use space

·  Infrastructure that is fully scoped and funded through a developer contributions plan

·  Maintenance works

·  Recurrent operating costs

·  Drainage, waste, roads and associated footpaths, as well as public transport          infrastructure

·  Infrastructure that does not have direct community benefit or address an identified         community need

·  Service connections

·  Bundling of small projects into a larger project for submission.

Applications for infrastructure funding will be assessed against the following five criteria:

Criterion 1 - Why is the project required? (25% weighting)

·  Extent to which the project addresses an identified need in the community.

Criterion 2 - Who will benefit and how? (25% weighting)

·  Extent to which the project will deliver benefits to the locality.

Criterion 3 - What will be delivered? (20% weighting)

·  Relationship between what the project will deliver, the need for the project, and the expected benefits.

Criterion 4 - How will the project be delivered? (20% weighting)

·  Realistic timeframes for delivery and demonstration that projects are financially viable and value for money.

Criterion 5 - Extent of council and community support for the project (10% weighting)

·  Recognised council priority and supported by the community.

Each project must be supported by the evidence of a council resolution providing support for each application and priority order of projects, site/floor plans for the project, confirmation of other funding sources and a project plan. 

Proposal

A cross-organisation working group was established to identify opportunities in the 4 Year New Works Program and shortlist projects that best met the Grant guidelines.

Council officers then met with the funding agency, the DJPR to discuss the shortlisted projects as identified by the working group (refer to Attachment 1 for summary of project opportunities).  DJPR provided feedback on the likely strength of the shortlisted projects against the Grant fund objectives and criteria, which further helped prioritise the list of proposed projects.

The projects listed below were identified as best meeting the Grant funding objectives and criteria and are listed in priority order (as per Attachment 1).


 

Project

PID

Proposed Funding

Growing Suburbs Fund

$

Proposed Council matching Funds/Year

$

Norris Bank Reserve (West Precinct)

·      Implementation of the west precinct of the masterplan

CW-10359

600,000

600,000    (2021/22+)

Kelynack Recreation Reserve Upgrade

·      Implementation of some of the key actions from the recently approved masterplan

CW-10728

675,000

675,000    (2021/22+)

Whittlesea Public Gardens – Skate Park and Urban Zone

·      Implementation of the skate facility that will form an ‘Urban Park’ playroom that has been designed with an emphasis on passive recreation opportunities for youth ranging from early teens to young adults

CW-10020

650,000

650,000      (2021/22+)

Redleap Recreation Reserve Upgrade

·      Implementation of the masterplan to address issues around public access, visibility, safety, connection to adjacent properties and interconnectivity between multiple recreation facilities


CW-10246


525,000


525,000      (2021/22+)

Streetscape Improvements on Gorge Road, South Morang

·      Revitalisation of shopping precinct as identified in Council’s Town Centre Improvement Plan which aligns with Victoria’s 20-minute Neighbourhood objectives and principles and encourages ‘living locally’

CW-10458

475,000

475,000      (2021/22+)

Quarry Hills Regional Park – Trails

·      Continued development of the park in-line with the masterplan to encourage increased use of the park by residents and visitors by connecting existing sections of walking/cycling tracks with the park and links to popular points to form walking loops

CW-10021

565,000

565,000      (2021/22+)

Community Energy Efficiency Program

·      Ongoing program to ensure community facilities continue to minimise energy consumption, reduce our corporate greenhouse gas emissions and our impact on the environment

CW-10137

375,000

375,000      (2021/22+)

Mernda Adventure Park – Public Toilet Amenity

·      Construction of a public toilet amenity to allow community to hold small events and to make the park more inclusive and accessible

CW-10349

150,000

150,000        (2021/22)

Total

$4,015,000

$4,015,000

In summary, the proposed eight project applications listed above best meet the GSF grant criteria for a total application of $4,015,000.  An equivalent funding contribution is required from Council, which is included in the draft 2021/22 New Works Program. 

Consultation

A series of meetings were undertaken with DJPR to discuss potential project applications and feedback was received regarding their suitability.

Community consultation will be undertaken on a project by project basis.

Critical Dates

All project proposals must be discussed with DJPR prior to applications being made.  This has occurred.

·    Applications closed on 10 March 2021.

·    Funding announcements are expected from April 2021.

·    Funding Agreements are to be executed in May 2021.

·    Successful projects must commence within 18 months of the funding announcement.

·    Projects must be completed within 24 months of commencement.

Financial Implications

The proposed eight projects listed above amount to a total application amount of $4,015,000 and Council must contribute a matching funding amount to that of the Growing Suburbs Fund application.  All projects must commence no later than within 18 months of the funding announcement (expected in late April 2021) and for construction to be completed within 24 months of commencement of works.

The nominated projects are currently listed with forecast budgets in the 4 Year New Works Program.  If the grant applications are successful, this will result in offsets to Council’s future New Works Program budget of up to $4,015,000. 

Policy strategy and legislation

Council has benefited from previous rounds of the Growing Suburbs Fund to deliver significant community infrastructure identified in the Council Plan.  The projects identified in this current round have been selected based on their strength of meeting the grant guidelines and their strategic importance to Council as identified in the 4 Year New Works Program.

link to strategic risks

Strategic Risk Service Delivery - Inability to plan for and provide critical community services and infrastructure impacting on community wellbeing

 

Links to whittlesea 2040 and the CoUNCIL Plan

Goal                                       High-performing organisation

Key Direction                        More cost-effective investment through better return on investment, efficiency and an engaged workforce

 

 The Growing Suburbs Fund enables additional funding opportunities for priority local infrastructure needs within Council’s 4 Year New Works Program.

Declarations of Conflicts of Interest

Under Section 130 of the Local Government Act 2020 and Chapter 5.7 of the Governance Rules 2020, officers providing advice to Council are required to disclose any conflict of interest they have in a matter and explain the nature of the conflict.

The Responsible Officer reviewing this report, having made enquiries with relevant members of staff, reports that no disclosable interests have been raised in relation to this report.

Conclusion

Applications to 2021/22 round of the Growing Suburbs Fund closed on 10 March 2021.  After extensive consideration of the projects currently listed in Council’s 4 Year New Works Program, eight projects were found to best meet the criteria and are recommended for Council approval in priority order for submission to the Grant program.

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Council resolve to approve the submission of the following eight projects listed in priority order to the 2020/21 round of the Growing Suburbs Fund:

1.       Norris Bank Reserve (West Precinct), Bundoora for $600,000 grant;

2.       Kelynack Recreation Reserve Upgrade, Mill Park for $675,000 grant;

3.       Whittlesea Public Gardens, Lalor – Skate Park and Urban Zone for $650,000 grant;

4.       Redleap Recreation Reserve Upgrade, Mill Park for $525,000 grant;

5.       Streetscape Improvements on Gorge Road, South Morang for $475,000 grant;

6.       Quarry Hills Regional Park, South Morang – Trails for $565,000 grant;

7.       Community Energy Efficiency Program for $375,000 grant; and

8.       Mernda Adventure Park Public Amenity for $150,000 grant.

 

Council Resolution

Moved:                       Administrator Duncan

Seconded:               Chairperson Wilson

 

THAT Council resolve to adopt the Recommendation.

Carried

 


Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                                              Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

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Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                    Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

ITEM 6.5.3          For Decision - Proposed Annual Budget 2021-22 

Attachments:                        1        Proposed Annual Budget 2021-22   

Responsible Officer:           Director Corporate Services

Author:                                  Chief Financial Officer   

 

RECOMMENDATION SUMMARY

Authorise the Chief Executive Officer to give public notice of the Proposed Annual Budget 2021-2022, (‘the Proposed Budget’), Attachment 1 to this report, which makes provision for one rate rebate (a $120,000 allocation for Sustainable Land Management Rebates).

This Proposed Budget is prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Local Government Act 2020.

Brief overview

·    Average rates in 2020-2021 will increase by 1.5 per cent, in line with the rate cap set by the Victorian Government under the Fair Go Rates System.

·    The Proposed Budget is $305.9 million, which includes an operating budget of $229.5 million and a capital works program of $76.4 million to provide new infrastructure and improve roads and facilities around the City.

·    The Proposed Budget will be advertised on Wednesday 7 April 2021, allowing public comments and submissions to be received up until 5pm Wednesday 5 May 2021.

·    The final Budget is scheduled to be adopted by Council at a Council Meeting to be held on Tuesday 1 June 2021 following consideration of any submissions by Council.

·    The Proposed Budget includes a $0.36 million cash surplus.

rationale for recommendation

The recommendation is in accordance with the requirement of Section 96(2) of the Local Government Act 2020. That Council may develop the first budget under the Local Government Act 2020 in accordance with section 223 of the Local Government Act 1989.

impacts of recommendation

Council has developed and will engage on the 2021-22 Proposed Budget in accordance with the requirements of the Local Government Act.

what measures will be put in place to manage impacts

An Advisory Committee of Council will meet at a time to be determined to hear public budget submissions and make any recommendations to Council for consideration at the Council meeting to be held on Tuesday 1 June 2021 at 6.30pm.

 

Report

Introduction

Administrators and officers have worked together over many months in developing the Proposed Budget to ensure it meets the needs and aspirations of our community.

The 2021-22 Proposed Budget re-sets Council's priorities, paving the way for our community to recover, restore and revive after the year of uncertainty Covid-19 created. We will continue to deliver more than 100 services and look forward to a full return to face-to-face delivery after a long period of time where many Council services were adapted to an online model. We also look forward to upgrading many of our existing facilities and assets, maintaining and protecting our natural environment and open spaces, and delivering new infrastructure projects that will accommodate our rapidly growing and diverse community.

In 2021/22 Council will spend $305.9 million to deliver community services and invest in essential new infrastructure. This includes a $76.4 million capital works program.

The proposed rate increase is 1.5 per cent, in line with the order by the Minister for Local Government on 22 December 2020 under the Fair Go Rates System. Council will not be seeking a variation to the rate cap for the 2021/22 year and is very aware of cost pressures on individuals and businesses.

Council and our community continue to experience the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Council will manage its costs to ensure investment in our local community continues. Our $2 million Covid Community Recovery Fund that was included in the 2020-21 Annual Budget will be allocated to local projects and activities based on community feedback throughout this year. By the time this Budget is adopted, it is expected that the allocation of this fund will be decided and we will be able to outline the community-driven initiatives that will be rolled-out in 2021-22. 

After hearing public submissions, it is proposed that the Budget will be adopted at a Council Meeting to be held on Tuesday 1 June 2021.

Background

The Proposed Budget (Attachment 1) has been prepared on the principles of responsible financial management to achieve an operating surplus that ensures and maintains long term financial sustainability and on a cash basis to deliver a surplus in order to fund new works.

The compilation of the Proposed Budget has been challenging in order to deliver services to a growing community, whilst improving organisation efficiencies and business processes. 

Whilst always difficult to raise revenue, especially in times of economic uncertainty, the rate increase proposed is in line with the rate cap set by the State Government and provides for a responsible mix of recurrent and capital budget expenditures.

Budget highlights

Some key features of the budget include:

·    Operating revenue of $238.57 million (excluding developer contributions, non-monetary assets and non-recurrent capital grants)

·    Operating expenditure of $229.5 million

·    $12.03 million to provide services, programs and activities and enable older people to live independently in their homes

·    $9.96 million for provision of family and children services

·    $8.63 million for public health services and programs delivered to protect and enhance community health, safety and wellbeing

·    $5.24 million contribution to provide the Regional Library Service

·    $4.41 million for traffic management services, including school crossings and community education programs

·    $1.96 million for supporting local youth services.

Capital works

The Proposed Budget includes a new capital works budget of $68.4 million and $8.0 million of works carried forward from 2020-21 including.

Capital Works Program Highlights

Some of the key highlights of the 2021-22 Capital program across Council's districts include:

South West District (Thomastown, Lalor, Epping)

·    $1.89 million pavilion upgrade at HR Uren Reserve including a separate multi-purpose social space to the existing sporting pavilion, which will be available for community use and provide recreational participation opportunities for residents

·    $2.40 million for Whittlesea Public Gardens Master Plan

·    $0.8 million for ongoing implementation of the Epping Recreation Reserve Master Plan

South East District (Mill Park, Bundoora)

·    $2.79 million for upgrade of McLeans Road Kindergarten (demolition of existing building and construction of a new two room kindergarten)

·    $2.74 million for stage 2 redevelopment of Mill Park Basketball Stadium

Central West District (Epping North, Wollert)

·    $3.43 million for construction of a Community Activity Centre – west of Epping Road at Wollert East

Central East District (South Morang, Mernda, Doreen)

·    $2 million for Quarry Hills Regional Park implementation to transform it into a major regional open space facility

·    $1 million for the Findon Road extension - Williamsons road to Danaher Drive connecting Plenty Road in the east to the Hume Freeway in the west. Project is programmed to align with extension of the Mernda Rail Train Line

·    $2.11 million for construction of a Community Activity Centre – Mernda Villages

·    $1 million for the construction of Sackville Street and Bridge Inn Road intersection

·    $0.9 million for sports ground and turf renewal at Laurimar Reserve West oval

Rural North District (Whittlesea Township and Surrounds)

·    $0.9 million to upgrade Whittlesea skate park to include street skate and park elements, new social spaces, a refurbished BMX track and improve accessibility to cater for a broader range of age groups, encourage female participation, and skaters of different abilities, for the growing Whittlesea community

·    $2 million for the reconstruction of Arthurs Creek road at Yan Yean

In addition to the above, the following major projects covering multiple districts are included in the 2021-22 Capital program:

·    $14.87 million for local road restoration and resurfacing

·    $2.30 million for minor planned renewal works

·    $1.50 million for streetlight bulb replacement program

·    $1.45 million for ongoing programs to upgrade playgrounds and general landscape

Waste Charge

Whittlesea introduced a separate waste charge in 2018-19 and this charge will continue in 2020-2021.

Council will, for the second consecutive year, absorb most of the rising costs associated with waste collection. The Victorian Government will increase landfill levy costs to Council by more than 60 per cent in 2021-22. Council proposes to increase its waste charge by 1.5 per cent to recover $10 million of the $12.36 million increase this will cost Council, representing a $2.36 million subsidy for the community.

The 2021-2022 proposed waste service charges are:

·    $114.40 per annum for residential and farming properties

·    $175.20 per annum for commercial and industrial properties.

This will bring average rates and charges (general rates plus waste service charge) to $1,878.94 per household, being 2.39 per cent higher than the 2020-21 level of $1,835.10. Note that the waste charge is not subject to rate capping and the general rate amount includes annualised supplementary rates. 

Proposal

It is proposed that Council authorise the Chief Executive Officer to give public notice of the Proposed Budget for the 2021-2022 financial year.

Consultation

The Proposed Budget will be advertised on Wednesday 7 April 2021, allowing public comments and submissions to be received up until 5pm Wednesday 5 May 2021.

Critical Dates

It is proposed that the final Budget be adopted by Council at a Council Meeting to be held on Tuesday 1 June 2021 following consideration of any submissions by Council.

Financial Implications

In 2021-2022 Council will spend $305.9 million to deliver more than 100 community services and invest in essential new infrastructure.

This includes a $76.4 million capital works program, with projects to build and upgrade community centers, sporting facilities, playgrounds, roads, bike paths and footpaths across our new and established areas.

Policy strategy and legislation

Council prepares its annual Budget under the provisions of the Local Government Act 2020 and the Local Government (Planning and Reporting) Regulations 2020.

link to strategic risks

Strategic Risk Financial Sustainability - Inability to meet current and future expenditure

The budget is the key tool to manage Council’s short-term financial sustainability.

 

Links to whittlesea 2040 and the CoUNCIL Plan

Goal                                       High-performing organisation

Key Direction                        More informed Council decisions based on strong advice and community consultation and engagement

 

Declarations of Conflicts of Interest

Under Section 130 of the Local Government Act 2020 and Chapter 5.7 of the Governance Rules 2020, officers providing advice to Council are required to disclose any conflict of interest they have in a matter and explain the nature of the conflict.

The Responsible Officer reviewing this report, having made enquiries with relevant members of staff, reports that no disclosable interests have been raised in relation to this report.

Conclusion

Council has developed a responsible and financially sustainable budget that puts the City of Whittlesea in a strong fiscal position to manage future impacts of the pandemic and provide for the needs of our rapidly growing community.

As Council works within an environment of ongoing uncertainty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, added financial discipline, monitoring, and continuous improvement will be required to ensure that Council is delivering services in a cost-effective manner.

Residents and other interested members of our community are invited to make comments and submissions on the Proposed Budget.

 

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Council resolve to:

1.       Authorise the Chief Executive Officer to give public notice of the Proposed Annual Budget 2021-2022 (‘the Proposed Budget’), Attachment 1 to this report, which make provision for one rate rebate (a $120,000 allocation for Sustainable Land Management Rebates). The Proposed Budget is prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Local Government Act 2020;

2.       Establish an Advisory Committee comprising Administrator __________; and Administrator __________ ('the Advisory Committee') to consider submissions and hear from any person who requests to speak in support of their submission on the Proposed Budget.

3.       Require the Advisory Committee to report to Council, with any recommendations, at the Council Meeting to be held at 6.30 pm on Tuesday, 1 June 2021.

4.       Make copies of the Proposed Budget available for inspection via Whittlesea City Council’s website – www.whittlesea.vic.gov.au with physical copies mailed out on request.

5.       Seek written public submissions on the Proposed Budget during the consultation period of Wednesday 7 April 2021 to 5.00 pm Wednesday 5 May 2021.

6.       Consider any written submissions and hear those persons requesting to be heard in relation to their submission in a format, time and date to be determined by Council.

7.       Confirm Proposed Schedule of Fees and Charges included in the Proposed Budget Document.

Council Resolution

Moved:                       Chairperson Wilson

Seconded:               Administrator Duncan

 

THAT Council resolve to:

1.       Authorise the Chief Executive Officer to give public notice of the Proposed Annual Budget 2021-2022 (‘the Proposed Budget’), Attachment 1 to this report, which make provision for one rate rebate (a $120,000 allocation for Sustainable Land Management Rebates). The Proposed Budget is prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Local Government Act 2020;

2.       Establish an Advisory Committee comprising Administrator Wilson and Administrator Duncan ('the Advisory Committee') to consider submissions and hear from any person who requests to speak in support of their submission on the Proposed Budget.

3.       Require the Advisory Committee to report to Council, with any recommendations, at the Council Meeting to be held at 6.30 pm on Tuesday, 1 June 2021.

4.       Make copies of the Proposed Budget available for inspection via Whittlesea City Council’s website – www.whittlesea.vic.gov.au with physical copies mailed out on request.

5.       Seek written public submissions on the Proposed Budget during the consultation period of Wednesday 7 April 2021 to 5.00 pm Wednesday 5 May 2021.

6.       Consider any written submissions and hear those persons requesting to be heard in relation to their submission in a format, time and date to be determined by Council.

7.       Confirm Proposed Schedule of Fees and Charges included in the Proposed Budget Document.

Carried

 


Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                                 Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

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Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                    Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

ITEM 6.5.4 For Noting - Governance Arrangements under Administrators - first twelve months 

Attachments:                        1        Administrator Action Plan 2020-2024

2        Activities of the Administrators   

Responsible Officer:           Executive Manager Governance

Author:                                  Executive Manager Governance   

 

RECOMMENDATION SUMMARY

THAT Council resolve to note the report and provide a copy of it to the Minister for Local Government, Local Government Victoria and to all local Members of Parliament.

Brief overview

This report provides an overview of good governance provided by the City of Whittlesea Panel of Administrators, working as Council, during the first 12 months since the panel’s appointment by the Victorian Government in March 2020. 

It also includes the Administrator Action Plan 2020-2024 that has been developed to ensure continued good governance during Council’s four-year term.  This Action Plan outlines priorities in line with the Community Vision, Whittlesea 2040: A place for all, and considers the Local Government Act and needs of the community in responding and recovering from the COVID 19 pandemic.

rationale for recommendation

Transparency via regular reporting to the community plays a critical role in demonstrating good governance. This report is also in line with recommendations made in the Municipal Monitor’s report tabled in Parliament on 17 March 2020.

impacts of recommendation

The Administrator Action Plan 2020-2024 will be updated and reported to community bi-annually.  The Action Plan will evolve and adapt according to community feedback, including engagement outcomes during the development of the Council Plan 2021-2025.

what measures will be put in place to manage impacts

Monitoring and reviewing the Administrator Action Plan will occur every six months. 

 

Report

Background

The April 2021 Council Meeting marks the 12-month milestone since Ms Lydia Wilson was appointed by the Minister for Local Government to the role of Interim Administrator on 21 March 2020.

On 19 June 2020, the Panel of Administrators was appointed, where Ms Wilson became the Chair and was joined by The Hon Bruce Billson and Ms Peita Duncan.  The Hon Bruce Billson resigned as Administrator effective 5 March 2021. It is anticipated that the Victorian Government will announce a replacement Administrator for the City of Whittlesea by the end of April 2021.

A six-monthly report was tabled at the Council Meeting held on 6 October 2020, which  provided an overview of the Panel’s activities working with the community, stakeholders and the organisation. 

The 12-monthly report provides an overview of governance and representational activities between March 2020 and March 2021.

A key emphasis throughout this period has been embedding good governance at the City of Whittlesea as recommended in the Municipal Monitor’s report tabled in Parliament on 17 March 2020 which recommended: “Administrators develop, implement and publicly report on an action plan to embed good governance at the Council taking into account the reform opportunities in the Local Government Bill 2019.”

The focus on good governance has included progressive implementation of the provisions of the Local Government Act 2020 and restoring stability to the organisation following a significant period of turmoil and disruption.

In addition to re-established good governance and effective decision-making, the Council has been diligent in re-building the reputation of the City of Whittlesea through community engagement, improving staff morale and developing clear strategic directions and an action plan, which serves as a roadmap for a successful future.  (Attachment 1)

This reporting period also captures activities during the evolving challenges associated with COVID-19.

Role of Administrators

Administrators have a dual role:

1.   Decision-making (as the Council); and

2.   Representing the community.

This section of the report outlines the Interim Administrator and the Panel of Administrators’ (Council) activities since March 2020.

Priorities, Commitments and Approach

·    The Administrators have been united from the outset in the view that they are not simply a Board of Directors but a Council - fulfilling Mayoral and Councillor roles and responsibilities and civic duties along with a demonstrated commitment to a strong representational role. This ensures that residents do not feel disenfranchised by the fact that they are not elected representatives.

·    The Panel of Administrators has expended considerable effort to ensure the rebuilding of the City’s reputation and stability as well as trust, both internally and externally.

·    Ongoing work with the CEO, the Executive Leadership Team and the Audit and Risk Committee to ensure rigid legislative and statutory compliance and accountability.

 

·    Rigour in relation to budget oversight - operational and capital, income and expenditure, and responsible long term financial management.

·    A rigorous and strategic approach was implemented during the recruitment of a permanent CEO with a mindset of being 'community-first' coupled with leading LGA ambition and a determination to 'reset' the leadership team and stablise the organisation.

·    Active participation and prominence in a range of community engagement and consultation activities at both local and strategic levels including encouragement of active and constructive citizenry.

·    A commitment to work in partnership with the CEO and his Executive Leadership Team, while respecting each other’s unique roles and responsibilities and all statutory requirements.

·    Each Administrator has actively participated as part of Council or community advisory committees.

·    Administrators have each been instrumental in reviewing the opportunities for establishing additional advisory structures where there are current gaps e.g. business/economic development, planning and development.

·    Revised and introduced ‘best of breed’ governance and Council policies, embracing leading examples, contemporary guidance, relevant reviews in the sector and internal/VAGO audit findings.

·    A unilateral commitment to leave a lasting legacy for the municipality in terms of good governance but also in genuine community engagement, capital and project delivery, strategic planning and policy development, and long-term financial rigour.

·    The Panel of Administrators, together with the Executive Leadership Team, has focused on, and emphasised, a number of overarching Council priorities including environmental sustainability, key urban design frameworks, investment attraction, local employment, economic development, civic affairs (customer service and community engagement) and the availability of housing choices, balanced growth and development with a focus on both established and new areas.

·    Administrators have sought to push the boundaries to be an ‘exemplar’ and innovative Council representing the whole municipality. This has included a focus on key social issues including affordable housing; social inclusion; Aboriginal reconciliation; multiculturalism; mental health; disadvantage etc.

·    A commitment to work in partnership with key stakeholders including diverse communities, business, community organisations, Members of Parliament, Authorities (Department of Environment Land Water and Planning, the Victorian Planning Authority, the Environment Protection Authority, Melbourne Market Authority, Water Corporations), the Audit and Risk Committee, emergency services, education and health institutions, the private sector.

·    A strong advocacy role on behalf of the municipality has been adopted and will be strengthened by a more focused approach on strategic issues for the municipality including, but not limited, transport, housing, infrastructure, the North and West City Deal (Beveridge Intermodal Freight Terminal and Epping Food Innovation Hub), the Green Wedge and infrastructure funding.

Decision making activities

Administrators have adopted an extremely collaborative, open and impartial approach in working together to make the best decisions for the City of Whittlesea. They have demonstrated at all times careful consideration of briefing documents and reports, and made ongoing enquiries into officer’s recommendations.

Administrators have also developed a respectful and collaborative approach to working with the Chief Executive Officer and Council’s Executive Leadership Team in restoring good governance and informed decision making at the City of Whittlesea. Hallmarks of this approach have been their organisational visibility, effective ongoing communication and respectful manner with staff.

Administrators attend weekly briefing sessions on key strategic issues for the municipality including:

·    The Local Government Act 2020

·    Council Budget

·    Council Plan development

·    Community Engagement

·    Whittlesea 2040 Vision

·    Strategic and statutory planning

·    Advocacy priorities

·    The North and West City Deal

·    Leisure and community services infrastructure projects

·    Other major contracts and projects.

The Local Government Act 2020 received Royal Assent on 24 March 2020.  Implementation of the Act is staged over many years, and some parts of the Local Government Act 1989 remain in place.

Council is focused on ensuring rigorous compliance with the new Act and has been systematically considering reports at Council Meetings that will ensure effective governance and rigid statutory compliance.   

A summary of the key governance decisions made in the past six months include:

·    Confirmation of Council Meetings for 2021 (including two Council meetings held in community) at the 7 December 2020 Council Meeting.

·    Adoption of a new Administrator/Councillor Code of Conduct at the 2 February 2021 Council Meeting.

·    Adoption of a new Gift policy at the 2 February 2021 Council Meeting.

·    Adoption of a new Community Engagement Policy at the 1 March 2021 Council Meeting.

Employment of a permanent CEO

The recruitment of the CEO is a key responsibility of the Council. 

The process is managed by the CEO Employment Matters Advisory Committee (CEMAC), which is an Advisory Committee of the Council. 

Membership of CEMAC comprises all Administrators and the Council appointed Independent Person Margaret Devlin.  Ms Devlin was appointed by the Council in July 2020 to the position of Independent Person on CEMAC. The term of appointment is two years.

Following a rigorous recruitment process, and supported by a contracted specialist recruitment company, Council appointed Mr Craig Lloyd to the position of CEO on 7 September 2020 and he commenced in the CEO role on 12 October 2020.

CEMAC met on 23 November 2020 and approved the CEO Key Performance indicators for the first twelve months of tenure.  CEMAC met again on 8 February 2021 to review the first 90-day report from the CEO.  A further CEMAC meeting is scheduled on 4 May 2021 to undertake the CEO’s probationary review.

Representing Council in the community

The Council has universally adopted a strong representational role to ensure that the interests and varying views of the whole community are recognised.

This leadership is aimed at two-way communication between the community and Council to ensure informed decision making and citizen participation.

Visibility in the community has been difficult due to COVID-19 restrictions that have been in place in varying degrees since April 2020.

The Administrators have nonetheless actively participated in online forums, events and activities regularly and since restrictions have eased have commenced attending meetings and events in person.

This has included active participation in all internal and external Council Advisory Committees, meetings with local Members of Parliament, business webinars, community engagement activities with residents and briefings with groups and stakeholders.

Recent face to face community engagement has included:

·    Community consultations on Masons Road

·    Three community Consultations in Laurimar 1C estate, Doreen

·    Site visits arranged across the municipality

·    Conduct of a Community Forum and March 2021 Council meeting within a community centre at the Whittlesea township

·    Council Plan “Pop ups” sessions – Thomastown; All Abilities Playspace

·    Attendance at many launches/openings including the opening of the Ganbu Gulinj Community Centre; opening of the String Street Kindergarten; turning of the Sod at the Whittlesea Basketball Stadium; opening of the Yarra Plenty Regional Library new branch library at Ivanhoe

·    Listening to Land exhibition launch

·    All Abilities Play Space launch

·    South Morang Farmers and Makers Market.

Council has issued more than 169 media releases and Administrators have each engaged with community radio and podcasts, which have appeared on Council’s external channels and Plenty Valley FM.

The Chair has published regular messages of support to the community via Council’s external channels and in local newspapers.

A full listing of the activities of the Administrators is appended to this report in Attachment 2.

Advocating for our community

The Panel of Administrators continues to develop excellent rapport with local Members of Parliament to advocate on behalf of the community.

The City of Whittlesea has secured over $10 million in capital grant funding from State and Federal Government over the past twelve months and have submitted further capital grant requests of $12.6 million.

This has included more than $2.4 million in Victorian Government funding to help build vital community infrastructure, including a new respite facility in Mernda.

The Growing Suburbs Fund contribution will assist the City of Whittlesea to deliver five key projects that focus on creating liveable and sustainable neighbourhoods. The projects include:

·     A new social support respite facility in Mernda for older residents

·     An outdoor learning area at Mill Park Library

·     Safety and streetscape improvements at the Rochdale Square shopping precinct in Lalor

·     A program to improve energy efficiency in the City of Whittlesea

·     A new playground and landscaping at Carrington Boulevard Children’s Centre in Thomastown.

Further works to improve Lalor and Thomastown streetscapes has been fast-tracked after a $1 million funding boost from the Victorian Government’s Building Works Stimulus Package.

The $7.4 million streetscape redevelopments are important for job creation and re-activating local shopping precincts after COVID-19.

Council continues to advocate for funding to enable sporting facilities to be upgraded for better female friendly facilities.

A $1 million funding boost from the State Government’s Community Sports Infrastructure Stimulus Program will fast-track the much-needed upgrade of Mill Park Basketball Stadium. Council has invested the balance of $1.8 million

The $2.8 million redevelopment of this popular precinct will include new female and family change rooms, seating upgrades, accessible public toilets, a modern kitchen and fit-for purpose spaces to help the local association and clubs grow.

Council has successfully obtained funding of up to $1.32m through the Jobs Victoria Advocates program for the purpose of employing four Jobs Victoria Advocates within the Metro - Northern region to support long term unemployed and support local employment.

State Government funding ($570,000) was obtained to support the hospitality sector for outdoor dining and entertainment.

Council successfully advocated for 33 new social housing dwellings.  This will result in a total of 208 new affordable housing dwellings to be delivered across three locations in the City.

Responding to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the way people across Victoria live and work since the State of Emergency was declared on 16 March 2020.

Significant periods of lockdown across Victoria have financially and socially impacted on our residents and businesses.

At the height of the pandemic in June-August 2020, the City of Whittlesea was the fourth highest LGA for COVID-19 cases.

In April 2020 Council established an initial $200,000 Pandemic Emergency Relief Fund to respond to emerging social and economic hardship being felt by the community and businesses as the first wave of impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic began to accumulate under the declared State of Emergency.

A COVID-19 Hardship Policy was developed that has enabled residents and businesses to enter into a payment plan or defer payments interest-free until June 2021. 208 applications have been received and 161 have been approved.

Council has worked closely with its network of community and social services agencies working across the City of Whittlesea with a direct line of sight to those most vulnerable in our municipality.

The initial Emergency Relief Fund has directly helped with the provision of emergency food and critical aid to hundreds of families and individuals in need. Since 6 April 2020, 21 local organisations have received financial support under the Emergency Relief Fund, totalling $424,428. Council has received approximately 200 requests for support from 50 organisations.

In respect to support for businesses, Stage 1 pandemic relief and response funding of $90,000 was allocated via a Business Support Package to increase business mentoring sessions and the development of promotional campaigns, webinars and business development programs. A dedicated Business Support Line was also established and is ongoing.

At the September 2020 Council Meeting, further financial relief was endorsed including $300,000 for a second round of Emergency Relief Funding to be distributed via not-for-profit groups. A Business Relief and Resilience Program was also implemented with 103 local businesses funded a total of $450,000.  An additional $120,000 is still to be allocated.

A Community Recovery Fund of $2 million was approved in the adopted Council Budget for 2020-21. A series of online and in person activities commenced in March with residents, clubs, businesses and groups to co-design the expenditure of the community recovery fund.

Chair Administrator Lydia Wilson welcomed participants in the online workshop to the participatory budget program and on 31 March was presented with ideas around how to allocate the funds. Council is currently considering these ideas.

Council received $13 million funding from the State Government’s Working for Victoria initiative to employ 294 people who lost their jobs as a result to COVID-19 impacts on six-month contracts. These roles were directly employed into Council to assist in community relief and recovery efforts while some were re-deployed into not-for-profit groups that are supporting residents in need. The program concludes at the end of May and a number of contract positions have been successful in gaining longer-term contracts or full time employment at Council as a result of this successful program.

Council is working closely with the Victorian Government, Austin Health, Northern Hospital and DPV Health to ensure City of Whittlesea residents are provided with a comprehensive COVID-19 vaccination program.

Good governance in partnership

The Council joins the CEO and Executive Leadership Team at weekly briefing sessions on Council matters. On 16 December 2020, a combined planning day was held between the Council and Executive to identify key priorities for the term of the Council that would later support the development of the Council Plan 2021-25.

Administrator Action Plan 2020-2024

Council has developed an Administrator Action Plan 2020-2024 (refer attachment 1) and commits to publicly reporting on outcomes and achievements from this plan every six months.

The Action Plan Ahead 

Key priorities and a roadmap to achieving community outcomes have been marked out by the Panel of Administrators in partnership with the CEO and Executive Leadership Team. This action plan outlines the strategies and actions that have been identified to ensure good governance at the City of Whittlesea through to October 2024. 

The actions are outlined under the five priority areas of Council as outlined in the Council Plan and Community Vision, Whittlesea2040: A place for all and additional priorities of Good Governance/Effective implementation of the Local Government Act 2020 and Covid Response and Recovery. 

1.   Good Governance/Effective implementation of LG Act 2020  

2.   COVID19 Response and Recovery 

3.   Connected Communities 

4.   Liveable Neighbourhoods 

5.   Strong Local Economy 

6.   Sustainable Environment. 

7.   High Performing Organisation 

Progress and achievement against this Action Plan will be publicly reported at a Council meeting every six months.

Financial Implications

Administrators, appointed as the Council, are responsible for the financial health and wellbeing of the Council and the adoption of the annual budget. The Annual Budget was adopted at the July Council Meeting for 2020-21. Highlights included $84M for community infrastructure and a $2M COVID-19 Community Recovery Fund. Funding will also be committed in due course through budget processes to deliver on the commitments that emerge through community consultation and engagement activities for the development of the Council Plan 2021-2025.

Policy strategy and legislation

The Panel of Administrators were appointed under the provisions of the Local Government (Whittlesea City Council) Act 2020 by the Minister for Local Government.

The Chair of the Panel of Administrators takes on the role functions and duties of the Mayor and the Administrators take on the roles, duties and functions of a Councillor. Together the Panel of Administrators form the Council of the City of Whittlesea.

The laws regulations, policies and procedures that apply to the Council and to Councillors also apply to Administrators.

link to strategic risks

Strategic Risk Governance - Ineffective governance of Council’s operations and activities resulting in either a legislative or policy breach

The Panel of Administrators have been put in place to ensure good governance as Council under the Local Government Act.

 

Links to whittlesea 2040 and the CoUNCIL Plan

Goal                                       High-performing organisation

Key Direction                        More informed Council decisions based on strong advice and community consultation and engagement

 

Declarations of Conflicts of Interest

Under Section 130 of the Local Government Act 2020 and Chapter 5.7 of the Governance Rules 2020, officers providing advice to Council are required to disclose any conflict of interest they have in a matter and explain the nature of the conflict.

The Responsible Officer reviewing this report, having made enquiries with relevant members of staff, reports that no disclosable interests have been raised in relation to this report.

Conclusion

The past 12 months has been an exceptionally busy period for the Panel of Administrators, working as Council, with considerable demonstrated achievements. In addition to the re-establishment of good governance and effective decision-making, considerable efforts have been made to re-build the reputation of the City of Whittlesea, to engage with the community and to improve staff morale. A clear action plan and priorities for the future have been identified which will be progressively implemented in partnership with the CEO and Executive Leadership Team. Progress against this plan will be publicly reported on a six-monthly basis.

Administrators will continue to be vigilant in relation to the current COVID-19 challenges and supporting COVID-19 recovery whilst enhancing their visibility in the community.

 

RECOMMENDATION

THAT Council resolve to note the report, and to provide a copy of the report, to the Minister for Local Government The Hon. Shaun Leane, Local Government Victoria and all local Members of Parliament as a formal record of the activities of the Panel of Administrators over the past 12 months and its Action Plan going forward.

 

Council Resolution

Moved:                       Chairperson Wilson

Seconded:               Administrator Duncan

 

THAT Council resolve to adopt the Recommendation.

Carried

 


Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                                              Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

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Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                                 Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

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Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                    Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

7.         Notices of Motion

Nil Reports 

8.         Questions to Officers

NIL 

9.         Urgent Business

NIL 


10.       Reports from Delegates Appointed by Council to Other Bodies

ITEM 10.1  For Noting - Informal Meetings of Administrators and Delegate Meetings - 6 April 2021   

Responsible Officer:           Executive Manager Governance

Author:                                  Governance Officer   

 

recommendation summary

That Council note the record of Informal Meetings of Administrators and Delegate Meetings for the period 20 February 2021 to 22 March 2021 as set out in the tables below in this report.

BRIEF OVERVIEW

The Council is required to note at a Council Meeting that meetings involving Administrators have taken place and topics discussed.  This report provides details involving the Panel of Administrators within the last month.

rationale for recommendation

It is a requirement of Chapter 6 of the Governance Rules for Informal Meetings of Administrators to be reported to Council.  Whereas delegate reports may be reported to the Council meeting at the Administrator’s discretion.

impacts of recommendation

This report will be presented to each monthly scheduled Council Meeting. 

what measures will be put in place to manage impacts

No impacts are expected.  On rare occasions an item considered at a meeting receives a media enquiry.  If requests for more information are received, these will be managed by our communications team in consultation with the Chair of Administrators.


 

Report

Background

It is a requirement of Chapter 6 of the Governance Rules for Informal Meetings of Administrators records to be reported to Council.  Whereas delegate reports may be reported to the Council meeting at the Administrator’s discretion.

The Local Government (Whittlesea City Council) Act 2020 dismissed all Councillors from the City of Whittlesea effective Saturday 21 March 2020.  Ms Lydia Wilson was appointed Interim Administrator for a three-month period commencing on 21 March 2020.

On 19 June 2020, the Panel of Administrators for the City of Whittlesea were appointed.  The Panel of Administrators comprises of Chair Ms Lydia Wilson, the Hon Bruce Billson and Ms Peita Duncan.

On 3 March 2021, the Hon Bruce Billson resigned from his position as Administrator with the City of Whittlesea. The State Government will make a new appointment to the vacant position.

Ms Lydia Wilson and Ms Peita Duncan will continue to carry out the role, responsibilities and functions of a Councillor as set out in Section 231(1)(a) of the Local Government Act 2020 until their appointment ends following the October 2024 Local Government Elections.

In accordance with Rule 1 (Chapter 6) of the Governance Rules 2020 an Informal Meeting of Administrators is a meeting of at least one Administrator that is:

·    scheduled or planned for the purpose of discussing the business of Council or briefing Administrators;

·    attended by at least one Officer; and

·    not a Council Meeting, Delegated Committee Meeting or Community Asset Committee Meeting.

The Chief Executive Officer must ensure that a summary of the matters discussed at the meeting are tabled at the next Council Meeting and recorded in the minutes of that Meeting.

Proposal

Informal Meetings of Administrators records not previously reported to Council are detailed in the following table:

Informal Meetings

Administrator attendees

Officer attendees

Matters discussed

Internal: Additional Community Engagement Session

22 February 2021

Lydia Wilson (Chair)

The Hon Bruce Billson

Peita Duncan

CEO

1.   Council Plan Engagement Program.

Nil disclosures

Internal: Council Briefing

23 February 2021

Lydia Wilson

(Chair)

Peita Duncan

CEO

CSPED

DCSP

DCW

DIE

DPD

DPE

EMG

MAW MLCF

MPUD

MSPED

SAA

TLLF

 

1.     Mill Park Leisure Centre Opening – Belgravia Leisure.

Externals in attendance from Belgravia Leisure:

Nick Cox, Chief Executive Officer

Scott McDonald, General Manager Business Development

Aylie Spence, Area Manager

Amanda Watson, Centre Manager Mill Park Leisure

2.     MAV Presentation to Council.

Externals in attendance:

Kerry Thompson, Chief Executive Officer

Troy Edwards, Director, Policy and Advocacy

3.     Council Meeting Forward Plan.

4.     Greening Whittlesea City Forest Strategy.

5.     Aged Care Reform Project.

6.     Submission to Victoria’s 30 Year Infrastructure Strategy.

7.     Adoption of Community Engagement Policy.

8.     Yarra Plenty Regional Library Service Agreement.

External in attendance from Yarra Plenty Regional Library:

Jane Cowell, Chief Executive Officer

9.     General Business:

a)    Covid-19 Update.

b)    School Crossing Incident.

c)     Round 2 of Outdoor Dining Grants Out.

d)    Greenwaste transition to Repurpose It occurred 22 February 2021.

Nil disclosures

Meeting with Community Member

25 February 2021

Lydia Wilson (Chair)

DCW

1.     Various matters relating to disability access and engagement.

Nil disclosures

Internal: Council Briefing

1 March 2021

Lydia Wilson (Chair)

The Hon Bruce Billson

Peita Duncan

CEO

CFO

DCSP

DCW

DIE

DPD

EMCA

EMG

MLCF

MMP

TLBS

TLFS

1.     Council Meeting Forward Plan.

2.     2021/22 Proposed Budget.

3.     Mill Park Basketball Stadium Redevelopment.

4.     General Business:

a)    Covid-19 Update.

b)    Further Audits being planned.

c)     Potential Planning Permit Request.

d)    Community Forum.

Nil disclosures

Internal: Council Briefing

15 March 2021

Lydia Wilson (Chair)

Peita Duncan

CEO

DCW

DPD

EMCA

EMG

MCSA

MFCYP

MMP

MSPED

PMIA

TLBS

TLED

TLGA

TLO

YDOWP

YSC

1.     Council Meeting Forward Plan.

2.     Investment Attraction Strategy Stage 1 Opportunities Report Research and Feedback.

3.     Youth Advisory Committee Next Steps.

4.     Appointment of Council Representation on Organisations and Committees.

5.     2020/21 Growing Suburbs Fund – Project Applications.

6.     Domestic Animal Management Plan 2021-25.

7.     Epping Animal Welfare Facilities Contract Review.

8.     General Business:

a)    Covid-19 Update.

b)    DJVR Grant.

c)     Administrator Self-Assessment.

d)    Sorry Space.

e)    School Crossings – unwarranted.

f)     Council Plan Engagement.

Nil disclosures

External: General catch up with Administrator Chairs of City of Casey and Shire of South Gippsland

18 March 2021

Lydia Wilson (Chair)

N/A

General catch up and includes meeting with MAV Representative.

Meeting with Resident

18 March 2021

Lydia Wilson (Chair)

CEO

DPD

1.     Doreen RSL.

Internal: Community Recovery Budgeting Workshop

18 March 2021

Lydia Wilson (Chair)

SCEA

PRC

1.     Covid-19 Community Recovery Fund

2.     Council commitment to receive, consider and respond publicly to recommendations on spending priorities for that fund to be developed and delivered to Council on 31 March 2021 by the Community Recovery Budgeting Workshop participant group

Nil disclosures

Internal: Council Briefing

22 March 2021

Lydia Wilson (Chair)

Peita Duncan

AMCDT

CEO

CFO

DCSP

DCW

DIE

DPD

EMCA

EMG

TLBS TLGA

TLRS

 

1.      Consider Public Submissions and make recommendations – Public Submissions Committee Meeting – Request for Boundary Change of a Locality – 182 Greenhills Road Thomastown.

2.      Council Meeting Forward Plan.

3.      Administrator Protocols.

4.      Review of Governance Rules.

5.      Debt Recovery (Further Update).

6.      Proposed Annual Budget 2021-22.

7.      MRPV Suburban Roads Upgrade Package.

Externals in attendance:

Dipal Sorathia, Program Director – Northern Roads Upgrade

Dian Witono, Senior Project Manager – Childs Road & Structure Projects

James Brauer, Senior Project Manager – Bridge Inn Road Project

Peter Long, Project Manager – Bridge Inn Road Project & Epping Road Projects

Carlos Ibarra, Head of Communications & Stakeholder Engagement

8.     General Business:

a)    Weekend Market.

b)    Women in Building Surveyor Program.

c)     Break in at Epping Animal Welfare Facility.

d)    Community Consultation on Council Plan.

e)    Climate Change Training.

f)     All Abilities Playspace Carparking.

g)    Road Management Plan Consultation.

h)    Covid-19 Immunisation.

i)      Mill Park Leisure Centre.

j)      Counter Terrorist Attack.

k)     Gathering Place.

l)      Covid-10 Impact Report.

m)   Organisation Structure Update.

Nil disclosures


 

Delegate Meetings attended by Administrators are detailed in the following table:

Committee Meetings

Administrator attendees

Officer attendees

Matters discussed

Internal: City of Whittlesea Audit and Risk Committee

25 February 2021

Lydia Wilson (Chair)

The Hon Bruce Billson

CEO

DCSP

DCW

DIE

DPD

EMG

ICO

RCO

 

1.     Confirmation of Minutes of Previous Meeting.

2.     Matters Arising from Previous Meeting(s).

3.     Audit & Risk Committee Work Plan.

4.     CEO’s Update.

5.     Financial Report:

a)    Performance Report for the period ended 31 December 2020.

b)    Shell Annual Financial Report for the year ending 30 June 2021.

c)     New Accounting Standards – Update for the year ending 30 June 2021.

6.     Risk Management:

a)    Risk Management Update.

b)    Fraud Risk Assessment.

c)     Annual IT Penetration Test – Progress Report.

7.     Internal Audit:

a)    Internal Audit Status Report.

b)    Internal Audit Reviews.

c)     Outstanding Action Items from Internal Audit Reports.

d)    Child Safe Audit Implementation Update.

8.     External Audit:

a)    External Audit Strategy.

b)    Outstanding Action Items from External Audit Reports.

9.     Systems of Internal Control:

a)    Credit Card Policy and Staff Expense Reimbursement Policy.

b)    Administrator Expenses.

c)     Chief Executive Officer and CEO Executive Assistants’ Corporate Credit Card Expenses.

10.  Compliance:

a)    Internal Compliance Reviews.

b)    Quarterly Compliance Update – Monitoring Compliance with the Governance Principles.

c)     Procurement – Update.

d)    External Agency Examinations.

11.  Other Responsibilities:

a)    Local Government Performance Report Framework Quarter 2 – Performance Report.

b)    Audit & Risk Committee Report to Council Template.

12.  Correspondence.

13.  General Business Items.

14.  Confirmation of Date of Next Meetings.

Independent members in attendance:

Geoff Harry, Chairperson, Michael Ulbrick & Theresa Glab

Externals in attendance:

Martin Thompson, Partner & Lynda Cooper, Manager – Crowe Howath

Kathie Teasdale, Partner – RSD

Nil disclosures

External: Yarra Plenty Regional Library Board

25 February 2021

Lydia Wilson (Chair)

DCW

1.     Election of YPRL Chair and Deputy Chair.

2.     YPRL Committee Appointments.

3.     YPRL Strategy 2021-2025: Presentation and Discussion.

4.     Draft Budget 2021/2022 and Strategic Resource Plan 2022/2025.

5.     Draft 2021/2022 Priority Action Plan.

6.     Privacy Policy.

7.     Digital Inclusion Strategy Update.

8.     OH&S Six Monthly Report.

Internal: Whittlesea Reconciliation Group

25 February 2021

Peita Duncan

DPD

1.     Election of Co Chairs.

2.     Change the Date.

3.     Aboriginal Gathering Place.

4.     Black Lives Matter.

Internal: Whittlesea Community Futures Partnership Meeting

1 March 2021

Peita Duncan

DCW

Updates provided on:

1.     The Orange Door Access Point and Outposts.

2.     Family Violence Working Group.

3.     Whittlesea Housing and Homelessness Action Group.

4.     Victoria’s Big Housing Build Initiative.

Other items discussed:

5.     Implementing the new Terms of Reference.

6.     Funding Support for community service organisations resourcing for COVID Recovery.

7.     Council’s 2021-2025 Community Plan Consultation.

8.     Emerging Directors: Health and Wellbeing Partnership Plan (integrated into Council Plan 2021-2025).

9.     NDIS Service Needs Research.

External: Interface Council Group

3 March 2021

Lydia Wilson (Chair)

CEO

1.     Growing Suburbs Fund.

2.     Interface Week.

3.     Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental health System.

External: Whittlesea Community Connections Board Meeting

15 March 2021

Lydia Wilson (Chair)

Nil

1.     Comprehensive CEO Update on major projects and receipt of funding

2.     Monthly financial report

3.     Introduction of new Aboriginal Officer, Sharna Brown

Media Commitments

Media Commitments

Date

Administrator attendees

Internal: Photoshoot for Clean Up Australia Day

25 February 2021

Lydia Wilson (Chair)

Internal: Photoshoot for Wollert East Community Centre

26 February 2021

Peita Duncan

Internal: Filming for International Women’s Day

1 March 2021

Lydia Wilson (Chair)

Peita Duncan

The table below represents an Index of Officer titles:

Initials

Title of Officer

Initials

Title of Officer

AMCDT

Acting Manager City Design & Transport – Arashdeep Singh

MMP

Manager Major Projects – Nick Mazzarella

CEO

Chief Executive Officer – Craig Lloyd

MPUD

Manager Parks & Urban Design – Susan Hecker

CFO

Chief Financial Officer – Mark Montague

MSPED

Manager Strategic Planning & Economic Development – George Saisanas

CSPED

Coordinator Strategic Planning & Economic Development – Liam Wilkinson

PMIA

Project Manager Investment Attraction – Kate Weatherley

DCSP

Director Corporate Services & Performance – Amy Montalti

RCO

Risk Coordinator – Samantha Boyle

DCW

Director Community Wellbeing – Kate McCaughey

SAA

Senior Advocacy Advisor – Michele Purtle

DIE

Director Infrastructure & Environment – Debbie Wood

TLBS

Team Leader Business Support – Rod Cann

DPD

Director Planning & Development – Justin O’Meara

TLED

Team Leader Economic Development – Sarah Rowe

DPE

Directorate Projects Executive – Jack Jansen

TLFS

Team Leader Financial Services – Allan Cochrane

EMCA

Executive Manager Corporate Affairs – Kristi High

TLGA

Team Leader Governance Administration – Amanda Marijanovic

EMG

Executive Manager Governance – Frank Joyce

TLLF

Team Leader Leisure Facilities – Jacinda Hunt

ICO

Internal Compliance Officer – David Gauci

TLO

Team Leader Operations – Michael Papathanasiou

MAW

Manager Ageing Well – Ann Hindell

TLRS

Team Leader Revenue Services – Zoran Krstevski

MCSA

Manager City Safety & Amenity – Andrew Mason

YDOWP

Youth Development Officer Wellbeing Portfolio – Liz Wyndham

MFCYP

Manager Family Children & Young People – Steve Ward

YSC

Youth Services Coordinator – Blair Colwell

MLCF

Manager Leisure & Community Facilities – Benjamin Waterhouse

SCEA

Senior Community Engagement Officer – Luke Hambly

PRC

Pandemic Recovery Coordinator – Catherine Simcox

 

 

Consultation

Consultation has taken place with Council Officer representatives of each of the meetings and committees that qualify as an Informal Meeting of Administrators. In relation to delegates reports consultation was undertaken with the office of the Chief Executive Officer.

Financial Implications

There are no financial implications as a result of this report.

Policy Strategy and Legislation

Section 9(2)(i) of the Local Government Act 2020 provides that Council must in the performance of its role give effect to the overarching governance principles which includes that the transparency of Council’s decisions, actions and information is to be ensured.

It is a requirement of Chapter 6 of the Governance Rules for Informal Meetings of Administrators records to be reported to Council.

Whereas delegate reports may be reported to the Council meeting at the Administrator’s discretion.

link to strategic risks

Strategic Risk Governance - Ineffective governance of Council’s operations and activities resulting in either a legislative or policy breach

In accordance with Chapter 6 of the Governance Rules Informal Meetings of Administrators will be presented at each monthly Council meeting.

Links to whittlesea 2040 and the CoUNCIL Plan

Goal                                       High Performing Organisation

Key Direction                        More informed Council decisions based on strong advice and community consultation and engagement

The provision of this report is in line with Whittlesea 2040 and the Council Plan by ensuring Council monitors and evaluates all of its operations.

Declarations of Conflicts of Interest

Under Section 130 of the Local Government Act 2020 and Chapter 5.7 of the Governance Rules 2020, officers providing advice to Council are required to disclose any conflict of interest they have in a matter and explain the nature of the conflict.

The Responsible Officer reviewing this report, having made enquiries with relevant members of staff, reports that no disclosable interests have been raised in relation to this report.

CONCLUSION

It is recommended that the report containing details of the business transacted at recent Informal Meetings of Administrators and Delegate Meetings be noted.

verbal reports of council representatives

The Chair of Council, Lydia Wilson, in accordance with chapter 2 clause 24 of the Governance Rules 2020 invited Administrators appointed representatives of the Council to other bodies, to provide verbal reports.

Administrator Peita Duncan provided the following verbal report:

Whittlesea Reconciliation Group

I attended the Whittlesea Reconciliation Group meeting which was a very, very good meeting, I thought, and we are really trying to effect change through that group.  There's a new election of the co‑chairs which is taking place so I just want to express my thanks to the WRG.”

Whittlesea Community Future Partnership

“I attended the Whittlesea's Community Future Partnership meeting and there was lots of discussions from all of those groups around implementing the...through the COVID‑19 pandemic, discussion around our consultation for the council plan, so that was very worthwhile as well”

Community Consultation Groups

“We also attended Community Consultation Groups online because it was during our short lockdown to discuss the council plan with residents and I felt we did I think two of those groups and I thought that was very, very rewarding for us to hear directly what the concerns are from the community so that we could really listen and get a feel for what's happening and as I said now we're out and about a bit more, we will get to really understand the vibes in the community.

Launch of Riverlee

“I think it was just last week we attended the launch of the Riverlee site which is absolutely ground breaking and game changing I think in Local Government and I'm really proud of that, what we've done with Riverlee, Ramsey healthcare and all of the partners that are involved in that site.  I'm excited to see that come to fruition during our tenure, chair.”

 

Chair of Council, Lydia Wilson provided the following verbal reports:

Audit and Risk Committee

“I just wanted to note obviously my attendance at the City of Whittlesea Audit and Risk Committee and we referred to the minutes of that meeting earlier which was a really comprehensive committee meeting with multiple very important matters on the agenda.”

Yarra Plenty Regional Library Board Meeting

“The Yarra Plenty Regional Library Board meeting that I attended on 25 February and was elected chair of the Yarra Plenty Library Corporation and the start of some really important discussions regarding strategic directions going forward and the draft budget of the library corporation going forward.”

Interface Group of Councils

“Also I attended, on 3 March, the interface group of councils.  We need strong representation with other interface councils and a number of important items were discussed at that particular meeting, including the growing suburbs fund and interface week and also the Royal Commission into Victoria's mental health system.”

Whittlesea Community Connections

The last item I would like to note is the Whittlesea Community Connections Board which I'm a member on and we had a very comprehensive update on a number of major projects and our finances.  That's all I particularly wanted to note.”

 

THAT Council resolve to note the records of the Informal Meetings of Administrators and Delegate Meetings to the period 20 February 2021 to 22 March 2021 in the table set out in the report.

Council Resolution

Moved:                       Administrator Duncan

Seconded:               Chairperson Wilson

 

THAT Council resolve to adopt the Recommendation.

Carried

   

 

 


Scheduled Council Meeting Minutes                                                    Tuesday 6 April 2021

 

11.       Confidential Business

11.1     Connected Communities

Nil Reports

11.2     Liveable Neighbourhoods

Nil Reports

11.3     Strong Local Economy

Nil Reports

11.4     Sustainable Environment

Nil Reports

11.5     High Performing Organisation

Nil Reports

11.6     Notices of Motion

Nil Reports

 

12.       Closure

DELETE THE CLOSURE TEXT NOT REQUIRED

THERE BEING NO FURTHER BUSINESS THE CHAIR OF COUNCIL CLOSED THE MEETING AT 7.48PM.

 

CONFIRMED THIS 4TH DAY OF MAY 2021.

 

 

___________________________

LYDIA WILSON

CHAIR OF COUNCIL



[1] Positive verbatim comments may include negative aspects [e.g. “no gum trees” or “no trees next to roads”] but are considered positive as they comment on implementation of greening.