Community satisfaction wavers

Kyneton. Photo by Damjan Janevski. 247513_03

By Oliver Lees

A survey of residents has found a four point decrease in community satisfaction towards Macedon Ranges council in the past year, placing it “well below” other participating large rural councils in Victoria.

The survey was conducted by Local Government Victoria on behalf of all participating councils, which includes 16 other Victorian councils classed as large rural councils, such as Surf Coast and Southern Grampians.

A minimum of 400 residents from within the Macedon Ranges shire were selected for an interview conducted over the phone, which probed ratepayers’ approval of council in six core performance areas.

According to the data, there was an overall decrease in satisfaction in each core performance area including the new categories of ‘COVID-19 response’ and ‘business and community development’.

Macedon Ranges council’s overall performance of 54 (out of 100) was seven points behind the state average (61).

Speaking at a meeting last week, Macedon Ranges chief executive officer Bernie O’Sullivan said council was committed to addressing the community’s dissatisfaction.

“We take these results very seriously and staff and councillors are working strongly together to identify and action improvements across the board, focusing on the themes of culture, community, customer service and communication,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

Mr O’Sullivan specified key areas in need of improvement included roads and road side slashing, maintenance, emergency management, town planning, sustainability, and waste management.

Of the 29 individual service areas listed, only ‘family support services’ (63) and ‘disadvantaged support services’ (63) recorded an improvement in community satisfaction.

Macedon Ranges council mayor Jennifer Anderson said council values all forms of feedback.

“We’ll analyse them [the findings] and try to find solutions together and with the community, because that’s what council is all about,” Cr Anderson said.

Cr Anderson encouraged residents to continue to submit feedback to council.