25 June 2015 Coffs Council is Fit for the Future

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25 June 2015 Coffs Council is Fit for the Future

An independent assessment of Coffs Harbour City Council’s response to the NSW Government’s Fit for the Future (FFTF) local government reform plan has found that the ongoing strategies put in place by Council will ensure it will be financially sustainable by the target date.

AEC Group found that Council will meet or show sufficient improvement in the seven FFTF benchmarks – covering financial sustainability, efficiency and infrastructure and service management – that need to be reached by 2019/2020.

The report concluded that “Council’s proposal includes strategies that are appropriate and robust and have a high degree of confidence attached to their resulting impact on financial sustainability outcomes and indicators”.

The strategies include:

·         The Transformation to Sustainability (T2S) Program – a restructure and review of Council’s operations that is forecast to make savings of up to $3.2m per year by 2017/2018.

·         The Special Rate Variations (SRV) which will generate an additional $6.2m after three years for community infrastructure maintenance and renewal.

·         Improving asset management to optimise maintenance costs, asset renewals and depreciation and to find more efficient ways to deal with the backlog of repairs and replacements.

·         Additional revenue opportunities such as growing the income from Council’s commercial business units and the commercialisation of the organisation’s CityWorks construction division.

“We have been working hard for several years already to ensure that Council will be financially sustainable in the future,” said Steve McGrath, Council’s General Manager.

“As an organisation, we’ve had to take some tough decisions and be very determined to meet our future financial goals. Having this endorsement of our approach by AEC Group within the Fit for the Future context is very welcome.”

Coffs Harbour City Council is not included in the list of councils slated for amalgamation in the FFTF documents. Instead, it is suggested that Coffs Harbour - together with Clarence Valley, Bellingen Shire and Nambucca Shire Councils - form a regional Joint Organisation.

Joint Organisations are proposed to have three core functions - regional strategic planning, working with State Government and regional leadership and advocacy. They may also undertake optional functions such as regional service delivery and sharing skills and best practice.