THE Golden Plains Shire Council has failed the Community Satisfaction Survey 2015 and has stated that it will not be participating in next year’s survey. Dissatisfaction with the GPS is not surprising as residents in the south of the shire, particularly in Batesford and Bannockburn, have been voicing their displeasure for many months.

For years the GPS has boasted the positive results on the surveys but 2015 is a different story with residents of Bannockburn up in arms over waste collection and claims of three acting CEO’s (while CEO Rod Nicholls is on extended leave) and residents not knowing who is in charge.

The Miner has also been informed that there are two submissions, by residents, to the ombudsman, which are ongoing and related to the process the council adopted in changing the waste management service and lack of community consultation; and the continual reappointment of the CEO Rod Nicholls without re-advertisement. The Ordinary Meeting of Council on August 25, 2015, reads in part: ‘The survey results were discussed at the Council meeting on 28 July 2015 and Council passed the following resolution: That Council write to the Minister for Local Government advising that this Council will not be taking part in the annual Community Satisfaction Survey next year because: 1. no satisfactory explanation was given on why Golden Plains Shire was moved from small to large rural when we believe we are still in the small rural shire group, and 2. the quality of report data does not meet this Council’s needs in digesting the data The research report explains that ‘Golden Plains Shire Council is classifi ed as a Large Rural council according to the following classifi cation list: Metropolitan, Interface, Regional Centres, Large Rural & Small Rural. Councils participating in the Large Rural group are: Bass Coast, Baw Baw, Campaspe, Colac Otway, Corangamite, East Gippsland, Glenelg, Golden Plains, Horsham, Macedon Ranges, Mitchell, Moira, Moorabool, Mount Alexander, Moyne, South Gippsland, Southern Grampians, Surf Coast, Swan Hill, Wangaratta and Wellington. Wherever appropriate, results for Golden Plains Shire Council for this 2015 Statewide Local Government Community Satisfaction Survey have been compared against other participating councils in the Large Rural group and on a State-wide basis basis. ‘

The strategic area results indicate that in 2015, community satisfaction dropped signifi cantly in the areas of: Overall performance; Community consultation; Advocacy; and Overall direction.

Overall, the survey continues to suggest that the service areas which require more attention are: Local streets and footpaths; Community consultation and engagement; and General town planning policy. In a media release Mayor Councillor Des Phelan says, “Council is concerned with the results the results and is taking the identifi ed areas of improvement very seriously.

” The survey results indicate a decline in community satisfaction since last year. They also join an overall downward trend in residents’ satisfaction in Council’s performance over the past three years. Comparatively, councils around the State are reporting similar trends.

“We are currently implementing a new Events,Communications and Marketing Strategy, which was developed with community input as well as preparing a Community Engagement Strategy.

“This will improve communication with residents and increase opportunities for people to access Council information and participate in planning and decision-making processes.

“We have significantly increased our social media presence to help keep residents better informed and have started implementing major changes to our approach to community engagement. “