- Published on Saturday, 19 November 2005 11:00
SunRRA believes that Brimbank Council’s continued failure to meet community satisfaction targets and or maintain previous performance levels can only be blamed on the current crop of councillors and the CEO. “The problems start at the top and trickles down to upper management” says Darlene Reilly, SunRRA treasurer. “The CEO is accountable to the councillors and clearly she is failing with these results but the councillors have chosen to do nothing to make Marilyn Duncan accountable for this very poor result”.
SunRRA acknowledges that Brimbank Council has achieved an operating surplus for the last 5 years, a total somewhere in excess of $15 Million. “This is criminal, it’s not like their running Newscorp or CUB here.” Ms. Reilly said “Council’s shouldn’t be profit driven businesses, while they’re raking in the money the community is suffering”.
Down load Table 1 here.
Down load Table 2 here.
SunRRA’s members want to know why rates and charges increases are planned for the next 4 years when it is obvious Council is swimming in money. SunRRA public officer Mr. John Hedditch said “if they have that much money and are doing that well why can’t they build a recreational pool at Sunshine so we all could be swimming in this communities hard earned money?”The Council is generating enormous revenue (in excess of $100 Million per annum – with $110 Million estimated for the coming financial year). But where is the money going? Obviously, it’s not in our waste management service as that has been reduced and it’s a user pay system. We now have to pay for our green waste service on a user pay system, and there was no hard or annual green waste kerb side pick up at all in 2005. It’s not going to our libraries; library hours have been cut and expenditure on assets reduced.
“Again rates are rising, council is budgeting for a surplus every year without giving back to the ratepayers, rate rises continue to exceed CPI, and our ‘user pay’ waste services are the most expensive in Melbourne. Council is delivering budget surpluses, but its service delivery is failing – and the survey results show that the community is clearly telling the Council that it is failing” said John Girardi SunRRA President.
“Why not give our struggling pensioners a bigger pensioner discounts on rates. Maribyrnong discounts $65.00 and Glen Eira discounts an additional $110.00 per year, why can’t our Council take their lead? What about delivering some fundamental services, for all the financial hardship—that increases to rates above CPI place ratepayers under?” asks Ms. Reilly.
Rising rates and charges, operating surpluses year after year combined with reduced services (green waste, hard waste, library hours), consistent and increasing poor performance levels, decreased infrastructure renewal and reduced performance target levels is a disgrace the next batch of Councillors will need to address.
SunRRA acknowledges Marilyn Duncan’s (CEO Brimbank Council) concerns regarding SunRRA’s members ability to understand a “commercial environment” and therefore all residents and ratepayers ability to understand the annual and budget reports. This is a concerning view if true because what Ms. Duncan is saying is that the community is not able to see the “bigger picture” and may be mislead by council in this regard. On the other hand it seems quite obvious from downloadable tables that Brimbank Council is consistently failing to reach targets and is reducing targets in the vain hope of meeting them which in fact they in the end fail to do. Perhaps Ms. Duncan would like to go back to comparing the above targets and performance levels to the 1998 Satisfaction Statement as Brimbank Council did in the 2003 and 2004 annual reports, thereby guaranteeing themselves at least some improvement – or at least we can only hope.
SunRRA President, John Girardi said “I am deeply insulted by Marilyn Duncan’s claims that SunRRA did not understand the figures. I have taught statistics at the university level, and I understand the figures. We are sick of being denigrated and insulted by this Council. I challenge Marilyn, and any other person she wants to bring along, to debate these figures in a public forum. Let’s make it a charity event.”
Mr Girardi further stated, “I suggest, given that Council’s next meeting has been cancelled due to the election, let’s schedule it for that Tuesday night. We can charge $5.00 for entry, with all proceeds to go to the Breast Cancer appeal. Perhaps Bells Real Estate would like to assist us to promote the event, given that they have stated their support for this cause.”
SunRRA agrees with Ms. Duncan that the Auditor General signed off on the Performance Statement. The letter from the auditor general says he has audited the performance statement and agrees to the data contained therein. Quite simply the Auditor General agrees that Brimbank Council failed to reach their targets and the figures are true and correct.
All data reproduced in the tables has been diligently copied from the 2003, 2004 and 2005 annual reports.