Wednesday, June 30, 2021

20/21 Inner West Council Budget Submissions

experimental electic vehiclecharger at ANU


During the exhibition period, the project page was visited by 444 people, of whom 225 interacted with the information on the page including 199 downloads of a document and 137 views of the budget explainer webinar. 

Thirty submissions were received which were analysed and themed as outlined below with officer response comments.

source viewed 30 June 2021  


Theme Comment Response
Financial Reporting
Request for improving transparency and accurate in financial reporting and improving budget performance and priorities.
Council continues to review and improve its reporting capabilities using its current systems/technology.  Transparency of information at the appropriate level keeping the community fully informed covering its performance - month end results reporting, quarterly budget review and annual operating plan and budget is a high priority.  Annual financial statements and notes are audited by the Audit Office of New South Wales on a yearly basis.
Rates Harmonisation – shopping mall category
Rates outcome proposed for shopping mall category is unsupportable in the current retail environment.
-        Note confidential submission received has been distributed separately to councillors
Council’s modelling demonstrated that malls have greater access to, make more use of and therefore benefit more from some Council services.
Schedule works
Request for surveys for what residents want funding to be spent on.
Council engages with the community on their preferred works through a number of avenues including, the Strategic Plan, the annual budget, and through specific masterplan and plans of management programs.  In addition, when it comes to specific upgrade projects, the community is asked to comment on the proposed designs through the Your Say Inner West website.
Request to decrease the notice period for families who are leaving OOSH services.
The 20-day notice period is required as the enrolment levels impact the legislative staffing requirements and budgeting levels ie if enrolments reduce or increase the staffing numbers are adjusted accordingly.   This is a consistent approach across all of Council’s Education and Care centre-based services ie Long Day Care, Pre-School and OOSH as it also takes into consideration the administration and liaison with families on the waitlist.

There is a plan for the 2021/22 year to develop a marketing plan for Council’s Children’s Services and the feedback regarding promoting at the schools is noted.
Budget concerns
Concerns about the over-run costs for projects such as the Ashfield Aquatic Centre.
The Ashfield Aquatic Centre was delivered on time and on budget in accordance with Council’s adopted scope of works for the project.  A report on the final project costs was considered at the Council meeting on the 8 December 2020.
Concerns that the capital budget for cycleways is decreasing.
Council has allocated $23.6m to cycling infrastructure in the Inner West over the next four years.  Additional cycling infrastructure will be provided with the Greenway and UAIP projects.  This is a substantial program of works.  Council was successful in the implementation of RR07 Lewisham to Newtown cycleway in 2020/2021, which was funded from the TfNSW pop-up cycleway program.  Council will continue to apply for external grant funding for cycleway projects. 
Iron Cove Creek Masterplan
Multiple requests for the funding to be allocated for an Iron Cove Creek Masterplan to create a walkway/cycleway from Dobroyd Canal to Ashfield and to connect with existing paths in Iron Cove Bay.
The request for the Iron Cove Creek Masterplan to be included in the budget arose after the draft budget had been prepared.  Council staff have put in an application for grant funding for this project.  Notwithstanding, the outcomes of the application for grant funding, it is intended to give consideration to funding this project through the Quarter 1 budget review process.
Verge Mowing
Query about the budget for verge mowing increasing and if this means the frequency will increase.
Council spends over $9m on streetscape maintenance each year.  Council has adopted the following service standards for verge mowing:
-       Summer program from November to March with a 20 working day service cycle
-       Winter program from April to October with a 40 working day service cycle
Council’s service delivery over the Summer of 20/21 was impacted by the need for inhouse staff to take over the streetscape maintenance from a contractor in the former Ashfield area.

Any increase in service standards for the verge mowing service would have a substantial impact on the operating budget.
Increase funding and focus for footpath assessments to make it easier for residents to request upgrades which provide access to green space. Additionally, footpaths should have slopes so puddles do not form.
Council has allocated over $9m for footpath renewal and upgrade over the next four years. It is agreed that footpaths should be designed such that they do not pond during rain.  If there are specific locations of concern, these areas should be brought to the attention of staff so that they can be investigated.
The documents lack detail on the LEP update.
Council adopted a Inner West LEP which consolidated the LEPs of the 3 former Councils. This is currently with the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment for final gazettal, and should be gazetted by the end of 2021. The remaining LEP stages are to be finalised in 2022. The timing of the LEP stages are reliant on the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment ability to process the LEPs.
Performance Measures
Request for performance measure reporting to be transparent and against targets. Request for more measures to assess environmental achievements/
Performance measures will be reported on through the Integrated Planning and Reporting (IPR) framework and published six monthly. Measures and indicators will be reviewed as part of the development of the next suite of IPR documents which will be adopted in June 2022.
Limited budget for solar projects
Council has funded a rooftop solar and energy efficiency program under the Climate and Renewables Strategy through a $1.6m multiyear capital works program.  Staff resources from Capital Projects and Urban Sustainability have been allocated to manage the roll-out. This work has more than doubled Council’s solar capacity since the program commenced. 
Further solar installations will occur over financial year 2021/2022, including a large new system at St Peters Depot.    Solar PV is not feasible on all Council roofs due to (for example) orientation, shading, structural issues or planned changes to the site.  A comprehensive review of Council buildings with roof space has been undertaken to assess whether solar PV can be installed, and the rollout is addressing all suitable buildings. Council is also supplied with over 4 million kilowatt-hours of renewable power each year from Moree Solar Farm.  The solar supply began on 1 July 2019 via a Power Purchase Agreement.
Updates required on LED street lighting project
The replacement of street lights on residential roads with energy efficient LEDs is essentially complete, with 99% of the nominated globes replaced throughout the Inner West.  Some newer lights (42W compact fluorescents) were not replaced as they still have life in them but will be replaced in later stages of work.  Council is now working with Ausgrid and other stakeholders to undertake similar upgrades on main road streetlighting.  The website will be updated to reflect latest project implementation from Ausgrid received recently.
Electric vehicle charging infrastructure needed.
Council has commenced preparing an electric vehicle encouragement policy that is anticipated for public comment end 2021. This Policy is in accordance with Council’s Integrated Transport Strategy, which was adopted in 2020, and will provide a framework to inform Inner West Council’s future accommodation of electric vehicles charging over the next decade. It is anticipated the Policy will include recommendations on:
• provision of publicly accessible electric vehicle charging facilities, both kerbside and in Council car parks;
• accommodating electric vehicle charging in new and existing developments;
• catering for the needs of residents who do not have off-street parking;
• catering for the needs of electric vehicle car share schemes;
• other incentives to encourage electric vehicle uptake.
The Policy will also explore opportunities to provide electric vehicle charging through partnerships with State, Federal and private agencies/companies.
Incentives for Council to convert fleet and plant to electric.
The Leaseback Motor Vehicle Policy has been amended to reflect the transition to an all-hybrid lease-back fleet and has been endorsed by the Joint Consultive Committee (JCC) and approved by the Executive. Additionally, full electric vehicles will be increasingly introduced as costs decrease and the proportion of renewable electricity increases, commencing first with pool cars and regulatory vehicles. An all-hybrid lease-back vehicle fleet is a practical first step in the transition to a zero-carbon fleet. The lease-back fleet is currently mainly composed of traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. However similar hybrid options are available and offer a straightforward like-for-like swap.
Analysis of a) the current lease back fleet, b) hybrid car replacement options, and c) scheduled vehicle turn-over shows that:
• Transitioning the lease-back fleet to all-hybrid is cost neutral
• Full transition can happen within two years
• An all-hybrid lease back fleet would reduce lease back fleet emissions by 26%
• An all-hybrid lease back fleet would reduce other tailpipe emissions.
Additionally, full electric vehicles will be increasingly introduced as costs decrease and the proportion of renewable electricity increases, commencing first with pool cars and regulatory vehicles. Hybrids are a useful interim measure while Council converts electricity supply to renewables and establishes electric charging infrastructure.
Council has transitioned a number of gardening tools to electric.  Old tools will continue to be replaced with energy-efficient tools as they reach end-of-life where an electric tool is fit for purpose from existing budget.
Council staff are not provided with petrol or diesel cars as part of their packages (apart from some operational vehicles such as utes).  Council staff are equipped with hybrids since policy change in 2020. Staff incentives for electric bikes for consideration as part of a Workplace Travel Plan.
Commit to funding more street trees to combat urban heat.
Council funds new street tree plantings (as well as the maintenance of existing street trees) on an annual basis.  Staff resources have been allocated to both street trees and natural areas management.

Council is undertaking the largest investment in public tree planting in the history of the Inner West. Council will spend $3 million in accelerated funding in the next year on planting 2,600 trees. Plus, Council will plant 1,000 trees in grass verges and parks this year as part of the annual in-house planting program.
Additional street trees are routinely planted as part of road upgrades and similar Council projects. Council is also protecting and restoring 21 hectares of natural areas across the LGA from Birchgrove to the Cooks River and along the Greenway corridor. 
Funds and researched required to phase out methane gas consumption.
In accordance with the Climate and Renewables Strategy, Council is removing gas connections during redevelopment of assets, wherever feasible.  For example,

• the Ashfield Aquatic Centre previously ran on gas but is now driven by electric heat pumps
• the Haberfield Centre & Library redevelopment involved disconnection of the gas supply and installation of a large solar PV system on the roof
Request for more funding for energy efficient and renewable energy grants, programs and upgrades.
Environmental Grants currently aimed at NFP’s only. Broadening grants to private property would require further review/analysis.
Currently assisting sports clubs with webinars  and assessments with Australian Energy Foundation
Residential properties assisted through:
• Australian Energy Foundation quotes and information service
• Go solar for Strata
Commercial properties assisted through:
• Go solar for business
• Australian Energy Foundation
Request to consider a rebate scheme for cloth nappies and reusable sanitary items.
A rebate for a specific waste stream was reviewed previously and due to the high level of administration required by officers and variance of waste streams where reusable options are available it was determined that a user-pays waste charge would be more equitable so that households could reduce the amount of waste they generate by targeting actions relevant to them, in turn paying a lower waste charge. Equally a household creating more waste would pay a higher charge.
The domestic waste charges are for small (55/80 litre), standard (120 litre) and large (240 litre) garbage bin sizes.
Request for funding for an Inner West Street Gardens Policy.
Council has a Sustainable Streets program that encourages street gardens.  Further information can be found on Council’s website.   Dedicated officer employed to manage the program – an Inner West wide policy is currently in early stages of development.
Fund, research and resource programs for educating Council, Councillors and the community about issues including climate change, the health impacts of leaving vehicles running, emissions in construction and developing an idle-off policy.
Council continues to work closely with the community on environmental issues and will consider bringing topics such as the idle-off issue to networking groups like the Sustainable Schools Network to continue the conversation. These ongoing concerns will be included in the review cycle of the IPR framework.
Request for more research on environmental issues and to provide updates on climate action progress.
Council adopted the Climate and Renewables Strategy at an ordinary meeting on the 10 December 2019 with outcomes to be reported through the Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework. Further information about this strategy and others can be found at Council's website.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

ALGANGA21 - Australian Local Government Association National General Assembly

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— Rose Read, Product Stewardship Centre of Excellence

Electric Vehicles

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