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Annual Report highlights achievements

Annual Report highlights achievements

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Whittlesea City Council has released its Annual Report for 2019-20, highlighting many achievements amid a year of significant change and challenges.

The departure of CEO Mr Simon Overland in December 2019 and the dismissal of Councillors by the Minister for Local Government in March 2019 saw the appointments of Interim Administrator Ms Lydia Wilson and Acting CEOs Mr Kelvin Spiller and Mr Joe Carbone.

Ms Wilson was appointed Chair Administrator in June and was joined by The Hon Bruce Billson and Ms Peita Duncan to form the new Council made up of three Administrators.

A key focus of the Council has been embedding good governance and restoring stability to the organisation while representing the community.

“I take enormous pride in this role and feel privileged to be representing the people who live and work in the City of Whittlesea,” Ms Wilson said.

“Despite some internal challenges, coupled with the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic, we have continued to deliver on our vision for Whittlesea 2040 – a place for all.”

“Our $67 million new works program delivered around 128 projects for our community to enjoy and ensure our City is well planned and meets the needs of all those who work, live and visit here.”

“Some of the highlights include completing the $2M redevelopment of Norris Bank Reserve and a $4.8M upgrade to TH Hurrey Reserve in Yan Yean.

“A new community centre, Ganbu Gulinj, will cater for the growing Epping North and Wollert community and we are very pleased to completed a $12 million upgrade to the busy intersection of Findon Road, The Lakes Boulevard and Ferres Boulevard which has improved traffic flow for motorists and improved safety for pedestrians and cyclists.”

COVID-19 had a significant impact on the second half of the financial year and Council supported the community through a $200,000 Emergency Relief Fund, a $90,000 local business support package, a Financial Hardship Policy and a commitment of a further $2 million to COVID-19 recovery in the 2020-21 Budget.

“Many services were adapted during the pandemic to meet restrictions while continuing to provide essential services and keep people connected and engaged,” Ms Wilson said.

Other highlights include:

  • An end-of-year operating cash surplus of $26.543 million. This surplus was mostly created from funds and grants received in advance from the Federal and State governments for the delivery of future services. It also includes a substantial grant for Working for Victoria which would employ 240 people who lost their job during the pandemic at Council and in local non-government organisations delivering front line services.
  • Continued works on the $25 million refurbishment of Mill Park Leisure due to open in 2021.
  • Successfully trialled a food and organics waste collection service, which lead to the introduction of the service municipal-wide from 1 July.