9 June 2017
Results from the Victorian Government’s 2017 Community Satisfaction Survey have reinforced the need for more financial support for Councils in order to maintain and upgrade local roads.
The State results released last week show community satisfaction with both sealed and unsealed local roads in large rural councils, such as Mitchell, had decreased.
In the large rural group, community satisfaction with sealed roads fell one index point to 43, compared to the state-wide average (53) and average for metropolitan council (66).
Unsealed roads in large rural councils also fell one point, to 77, compared with the state-wide average (79) and small rural councils (81).
Mitchell Shire Mayor Rhonda Sanderson supported the Municipal Association of Victoria’s position that it appeared there was a correlation between funding cuts to local roads and satisfaction among the community.
In 2015, the Victorian Government stopped the Country Roads and Bridges Initiative, which provided $1 million per year to Mitchell Shire, or the equivalent of a 3 per cent rate rise.
“While most other indicators across the large rural grouping improved, there is a clear drop in satisfaction with roads from 2016, and Mitchell is no exception.
“Maintaining local road networks is a major challenge for councils, especially large rural and interface councils that lack the capacity to invest money and close the asset renewal gap, which means our local roads are declining faster than they can be maintained or upgraded.”
Cr Sanderson said the 2017/18 Draft Budget showed that while ratepayers’ contribution to our 1380km road network had increased, overall road spending had decreased due to a drop in grant funding.
“We know roads and road safety are high priorities for our community, but the reality is we can’t do it alone,” Cr Sanderson said.
“We need funding from other sources such as State and Federal governments and these survey results clearly highlight that need across the large rural council group. We will continue to advocate for these funds on behalf of our community.”
The 2017 Community Satisfaction Survey is a state-wide telephone survey of residents from 68 council conducted by the State Government.
A minimum of 400 residents participate from each municipality on topics including council’s overall performance, community consultation and engagements, advocacy and customer service.
To view the statewide survey, click HERE.
Mitchell’s individual Community Satisfaction Survey results will be released shortly.