So now it’s official. Bass Coast Shire Council is now rated as the worst in Victoria according to the State Government’s annual Local Government Community Satisfaction Survey.
Every year, 400 Bass Coast people are contacted by a State Government Department and are surveyed on a large range of important issues.
This year, the outcome of that shire-wide survey is that Bass Coast is rated as Victoria’s worst.
The survey, released last week shows that with one exception, the Bass Coast Shire Council went backwards on all core performance measures over the past year.
What a pathetic outcome, particularly when the council spent tens of thousands of dollars to bring in highly paid consultants to coach them on how to better communicate and consult with the community.
Clearly that money was wasted, as it is with so many of the consultants they employ.
Following what should have been a wake-up call for the councillors last year when the council was rated the second worst in the state, the overall performance index score has dropped by a further four points over the past 12 months.
On overall performance, Bass Coast now lags the state-wide average by a staggering 13 points.
It will be no surprise to many that the largest decline in ratings occurred on Overall Council Direction and it is instructive that this negative view spans all age groups surveyed.
If one considers the numerous issues which council has enacted to get people offside, then I guess it is understandable they are our worst ever.
They have killed off all incentive for people and businesses to undertake work in Bass Coast. Bass Coast is closed for business.
Talk to any builder and they will tell you stories of woe.
Businesses (read jobs) are deserting Bass Coast on an almost weekly basis.
The dogs on beach debacle spans three years. The footpath along Surf Parade in Inverloch which is still to be built is a monument to incompetence.
They are planning to close the tourist information centre in Wonthaggi which has understandably enraged numerous people, organisations and businesses.
They have created a rubbish tip in the centre of Wonthaggi, which they call a council storage yard and they closed the only rubbish tip on Phillip Island.
Phillip Island has been treated abysmally by this council.
Councillors well know what the community on Phillip Island think of them so they have stopped using the only local paper which covers Phillip Island and San Remo.
Most see this as a clear attempt to neuter the media.
For a vast number of Phillip Island and San Remo residents their local paper is the only way they receive information regarding what is happening with their council.
Events and activities are now taking place on Phillip Island which large numbers in the community are missing and have no knowledge of because the council no longer advertises in the local paper.
By purposely not utilising the local paper they have disenfranchised vast numbers of Phillip Island and San Remo residents and for that they stand condemned.
In the next few weeks I am informed that the council is seriously considering tendering out the shire-wide rubbish collection for a period of 10 years.
The proposal will include reducing the main rubbish bin for most residents (household garbage) from a weekly service to a fortnightly service.
At the same time, the already high cost of garbage rates will increase because they propose to introduce a green waste bin which most do not want at extra cost.
Without doubt, the council should not conduct this tender process just before the coming council election and should wait until the view of the new council is considered.
So what can be done?
In four months there will be a council election in Bass Coast and all current councillors will be up for election.
Even before it is known who will be standing, most people I know will be putting their sitting councillor last when they vote.
By putting sitting councillors last the community can be assured of a new council and a new beginning.
One thing is for sure. When our council is known far and wide as our worst ever and a government survey finds them to be the worst in the state, it’s time for change.
Alan Brown, Wattle Bank.