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Whitsunday Council’s 17 big-picture goals for next 5 years

By Ray White Whitsunday

A new draft corporate plan outlines the vision and aspirations of the Whitsunday Regional Council for the next five years.

Councillors last week unanimously voted to release the draft plan for community and stakeholder consultation.

The consultation process is pegged to start in mid-March and gives the community an opportunity to give feedback before the corporate plan is formally adopted.

Here is a breakdown of the 17 key focus areas listed in the corporate plan, which will help guide how the council broadens the region’s economy and paves the way to a sustainable future over the next five years.

Arts, cultural and heritage strategy

The council has noted the need for an arts, cultural and heritage strategy.

The strategy would aim to recognise, support and invigorate this aspect of the region as the council acknowledges it defines who we are and reflects the diversity.

Establishment of a place of refuge in Cannonvale, Airlie Beach and Jubilee Pocket

As an area that’s susceptible to significant weather events and natural disasters, the council wants to work to boost sustainability and community resilience.

“This includes the establishment of places of refuge to protect the wellbeing of affected residents during times of need,” the draft corporate plan states.

Assessment of electoral distribution structure

At the moment the council is made up of the mayor and six councillors from different divisions.

The corporate plan notes there are other electoral structures that could be considered, so an assessment could look into these.

“Should any changes be proposed then sufficient lead time is required prior to the next local government election for the changes to be enacted,” the plan states.

The Shute Harbour reconstruction is under way.

Shute Harbour stage two

The need for further development of Shute Harbour and a Centre of Marine Excellence were identified in the Whitsundays Destination Tourism Plan 2019 to 2024.

Therefore, stage two of the Shute Harbour development has been noted as a key focus area in the new corporate plan.

Land use planning for the future

The council has noted early land use in the region was guided by the community’s needs at the time.

But as time goes on, the way the community lives and operates has evolved.

“Aspects such as digital and web-based retail and commercial activities, climate change and connectivity have all had significant impact to the extent that some existing land uses are no longer applicable and do not reflect the current and future needs of our community,” the corporate plan states.

That’s why the council has made it a priority to undertake a detail of land use planning across the region.

The council has released its draft corporate plan.

Waste management strategy revision

The current waste management strategy will expire this year, so the council has acknowledged the need for a new strategy for the future needs of the region.

Strategic workforce plan

Council staff deliver the services and facilities the community enjoys and expects.

By developing a strategic workforce plan, the council will evaluate the current workforce and figure out what is required to ensure staff are structured and able to meet future needs.

Asset management plan

Did you know the council is responsible for the management and operation of more than $1 billion of assets?

Well, it’s true and the services and facilities these assets provide contribute to quality of life.

The corporate plan recognises the importance of an asset management plan, saying it is fundamental to long-term sustainability.

“The oversight and management of such a large and important part of council operations requires careful planning to ensure the benefits derived will continue,” the plan states.

The plan outlines the council’s vision and aspirations for the next five years.

Review of commercial business operations

At the moment the council operates several commercial facilities and it is important their operations are self-sustainable, where possible.

A review will help give the council an understanding of the commercial viability of each activity so informed and strategic choices can be made.

Long-term community plan

In order for the council to plan for the community’s future, it needs to understand what is needed.

A long-term community plan would aim to achieve this understanding and help the council make plans, policies and operational decisions going forward.

The council has voted to send the plan out for community engagement.

Economic development strategy

The corporate plan says an economic development strategy would aim to provide a framework for long-term growth and prosperity.

It would help provide guidance, even in challenging and unpredictable times.

Reinvigoration and resetting of organisational safety obligations

The council notes setting up an operational culture that embraces the need to be safety aware reduces the risk of accidents and serious injury.

“A challenge, however, with managing a large and geographically dispersed workforce is attaining organisational consistency with the application of required safety standards,” the corporate plan states.

Water price assessment has been included in the plan.

Long-term financial plan

A long-term financial plan is noted as being the way for the council to fully understand the financial ramifications of projects or actions and make informed decisions.

Analysis of full cost pricing for water, waste and sewer functions

Once the council can determine the full pricing, it can be used to work out a price path and charge for service.

Advocacy policy and plan

The council is the representative body closest to the people and often gets involved in issues that it doesn‘t have control or jurisdiction over.

“For council to effectively represent the community on these issues, an advocacy policy and plan is required that guides process and assists to determine council’s regional priorities,” the corporate plan states.

(From left) Whitsunday Regional Council Division 6 councillor Mike Brunker, Division 5 councillor Gary Simpson, Division 2 councillor Al Grundy, Mayor Andrew Willcox, deputy mayor and Division 3 councillor John Collins, Division 1 councillor Jan Clifford and Division 4 councillor Michelle Wright. Picture: Jordan Gilliland

Governance leadership framework

This framework would be designed to help guide elected members with decision making and actions.

This would help them achieve the standards expected by the community and other levels of government.

Development and introduction of business plans for directorates and functions

The council notes a formalised process of business planning for all council operations will help ensure decisions are made with a high level of due diligence.

To read the full draft corporate plan visit the council website.

Source: Whitsunday Times

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