Hawkesbury City Council Declared Fit For The Future

Hawkesbury City Council has been has been declared “Fit For The Future”, as written in recent correspondence to Council by the Minister for Local Government, Gabrielle Upton MP.

The Mayor of Hawkesbury, Councillor Mary Lyons-Buckett praised Council staff for the well-prepared submission for the Fit For The Future (FFTF) reassessment.

“We had every confidence that Council would pass this reassessment and I am excited by the future for the Hawkesbury given the green light for Council as being Fit by the State Government,” the Mayor said.

“This is great news for the Hawkesbury community, after our strong fight in 2016 - when Council and the community united to remain a stand-alone Council when mergers were on the table.

“Council will continue to do its best for the community, including monitoring our performance to ensure we deliver the improvements committed to within the FFTF process, and so that we can continue to strengthen our financial position overall,” she added.

“As Council undertakes its current cycle of Integrated Planning and Reporting, we will ensure that the strategies and actions identified in our FFTF Improvement Plan are reflected in Council’s new Delivery Program and Resourcing Strategy.”

Background

Fit for the Future (FFTF) is a Local Government reform program by the NSW Government which commenced in 2014. Since 2007, Council has been implementing measures to improve its long-term financial sustainability with a particular focus on addressing the legacy of past decades of under-investment in asset renewal.

As required under the NSW Government’s Local Government Reform Program, Council lodged its original FFTF Proposal on 30 June 2015.

On 20 October 2015, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) assessed Council’s original FFTF Proposal as ’not fit’ as it did not meet the required FFTF benchmarks in relation to its Operating Performance Ratio (OPR).

Following the State Government’s decision not to proceed with the proposed merger of Hawkesbury City Council and The Hills Shire Council in May 2016, Council was advised by the Office of Local Government (OLG) that as a ‘not fit’ Council, it was required to revise its original FFTF proposal and resubmit it to the OLG for reassessment.

From July 2015 Council commenced the implementation of 20 expenditure and revenue measures as part of its FFTF Improvement.

Council also engaged with the community to gather information from residents on their satisfaction and expectations for Council’s services and facilities, their priorities for future investment as well as their preferred resourcing options for investing in the future using as many opportunities as there were available, at town meetings, in shopping centres and online.

Hawkesbury City Council submitted its Council endorsed, revised FFTF improvement plans to OLG for reassessment in November 2016 and on 23 August 2017, Council was notified of its reassessment as Fit.

Key results from the reassessment of Council

Fit For The Future reassessment: Fit

  • Council satisfied financial criteria overall as the Council meets the sustainability, infrastructure and service management and efficiency criteria.
  • Council states they have reviewed the 20 original strategies submitted to IPART to identify additional cost savings to achieve a reduced Special Rate Variation (SRV).
  • Council met the criteria for infrastructure and service management and efficiency in the original IPART assessment and was not required to be reassessed again those benchmarks.

Sustainability: Satisfied

  • Council’s Operating Performance Ratio (OPR) was -9.4% and forecast to be 0.6% in 2021, which meets the benchmark.
  • Council meets the OPR due to the proposed SRV and special rate. Should Council nor process on this path, as Council state sit is subject to Council endorsement, community consultation and IPART approval, it may not meet the OPR by 2020-21.
  • Council met the Own Source Revenue in the original IPART assessment and it is forecast to be 84% in 2020-21 which continues to meet the benchmark.
  • Council met the Building and Infrastructure Renewal Ratio (BIRR) in the original IPART assessment. Council’s BIRR was 80% in 2015-16 and is forecast to be 115% by 2020-21 which meets the benchmark.

Infrastructure and Service Management - Satisfied

  • Council satisfied the infrastructure and service management criteria overall in the original IPART assessment.

Efficiency - Satisfied

  • Council satisfied the efficiency criterion in the original IPART assessment.

Hawkesbury City Council’s Resourcing Strategy 2017-2027, Delivery Program 2017-2021 and Operational Plan 2017/2018 can be viewed at Council’s Administrative Building, 366 George Street, Windsor, on Council’s website  or on Council’s online community engagement site www.yourhawkesbury-yoursay.com.au

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