A challenging and rewarding year: Shire’s Annual Report
Published on 20 October 2021
Mornington Peninsula Shire Council’s Annual Report is now available on our website.
The Annual Report provides our community with information about our activities and finances during the 2020–21 financial year and can be downloaded by visiting mornpen.vic.gov.au/annualreport.
The 2020-21 Report demonstrates the ways in which Council has not only sought to respond to the challenges presented by COVID-19 but maintained its focus on service delivery. Challenges and highlights of the year include:
- Continuing with the Caring for our Community initiative - ensuring those vulnerable and isolated within our community due to COVID-19 had the chance to receive care packages. In all, a total of 3,186 care packages were delivered to those in need.
- Offering relief and recovery grants to help support our community through the impacts of COVID-19. $238,000 was granted to individuals, not for profit organisations, community groups and business associations.
- Our Business Support Actions Roadmap included rolling out our incredibly popular outdoor dining and trading program and expanding our Support Local campaign. We hosted a business round table to take stock of what had been done and how the Shire could further support the recovery of local businesses over the next 12 months.
- We worked with our community to create a shared vision of the future. More than 3,000 people shared their ideas. This will guide Council’s policies and priorities over the next four years.
- Completion of the Yawa Aquatic Centre in June 2021. At $50 million, Yawa is our biggest infrastructure project ever and was completed during one of our most challenging times.
- We secured funds for a number of high-profile community projects, including the Flinders Civic Hall redevelopment, the Hastings boat ramp upgrade, the McCrae Lighthouse restoration and new Southern Peninsula Integrated Youth Services Hub.
- We reviewed some of our key services and transformed our organisational structure so that it is more flexible, customer-focused and financially sustainable.
- We worked side by side with community organisations to mount a successful advocacy campaign against AGL’s proposed floating gas plant and pipeline at Crib Point.
- The Victorian Government boosted funding in response to our Better Buses campaign. We advocated strongly for more frequent buses, more direct bus routes and an expansion of our network and many of those changes will now take place.
- The Shire remains financially strong with a sound balance sheet. We achieved a surplus of $7.6 million in the 2021 financial year, which is an increase of $2.2 million on the previous year. While income from user fees decreased by $3.7 million as some services were restricted or closed due to lockdowns, total income for the year increased by 3.5 per cent to $264.4 million and we spent $50.8 million on 250 capital works projects.
Quotes attributable to CEO John Baker:
“The past 12 months have been incredibly busy and challenging but ultimately rewarding because we’ve learned so much. The COVID-19 pandemic requires us to be more responsive and connected to our community than ever before, and to find creative alternatives to business as usual. It demands a huge degree of flexibility and resilience from our staff and has been something of a stress test for the organisation as a whole. I’m proud of how we’ve risen to meet the many challenges and of the work we have achieved under difficult circumstances.
“Repeated lockdowns mean we’ve learned to be nimble when it comes to service delivery. We had to find ways to safely deliver essential services, support our community and continue our ambitious infrastructure program.
“In the midst of all this activity, we undertook a review of many of our key services and significantly transformed our organisational structure. We spent many months designing a structure that is more flexible, customer-focused and financially sustainable.
“Despite the many challenges this year has brought, our financial position remains strong. This financial resilience in a difficult economic environment underpins our ability to support our community through the pandemic.
“I’d like to thank our Mayor, Despi O’Connor, and all our councillors for their leadership and guidance over the past year. And, of course, all our staff, whose professionalism and dedication never fails to impress me.”
Quotes attributable to Mayor, Despi O’Connor:
“I’d like to say how proud I am of how our community members have helped each other through this pandemic, making significant sacrifices to protect the vulnerable and our health system. It has been an extraordinary year, which began and ended with lockdowns. It was also a year that saw the election of a new Council, including nine first-time councillors. Our most urgent priority was and remains supporting our community and local businesses through the pandemic.
“We embarked on our most ambitious community engagement project ever – to create a shared vision for the future of the Peninsula. This wonderful Community Vision distilled by an independent Citizens Panel will now guide the development of our policies and priorities.
“One of the major themes to emerge from the Community Vision was climate change. We were one of the first municipalities in Australia to declare a climate emergency and we adopted our climate emergency response plan, Ensuring Our Future. This plan provides a 10-year roadmap to guide the Peninsula towards zero emissions by 2040.
“I’d also like to mention our successful advocacy campaign against AGL’s gas plant at Crib Point. Council worked side by side with community organisations to mount an unprecedented campaign against the proposal. In March, Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne decided to reject AGL’s proposed floating gas plant and pipeline at Crib Point. It’s no exaggeration to say our community was overjoyed at this news.
“I’d like to thank my councillor colleagues, our CEO John Baker and all our Shire staff for their ongoing support, and for their hard work, stoicism and commitment in what has been a tumultuous and unforgettable year.”