Burdekin Shire Council has pledged its support for a new local government productivity and performance project to improve service delivery to Queensland communities.
Mayor Bill Lowis said Burdekin had joined with other Queensland councils to support the Better Councils, Better Communities project which was launched at the recent Local Government Association of Queensland Annual Conference in Mackay.
“We are committed to delivering value to our local community, but all councils are under an increasing financial burden as a result of downward pressure on revenue raising at the same time as the state and federal governments reduce funding to councils while handing us more responsibility,” he said.
“The combined effect of revenue limits and lower funding has cost the local government sector approximately $800 million a year – and this can’t be funded through more debt, rate rises or grants from external governments.
“As councils, we need to manage this challenge through better productivity and financial performance as well as ensuring the community knows more about the essential work we do.”
Cr Lowis said Burdekin Shire Council understood and respected the cost-of-living pressures faced by its ratepayers and residents.
“We also understand that our ratepayers and residents want to know more about council initiatives.
“That is why Burdekin Shire Council has agreed to support the Better Councils, Better Communities project to help us better tell our story to the community and respond to the challenge of balancing service delivery with cost of living pressures,” he said.
“This will be a performance and productivity improvement project designed to achieve significant savings over the next few years through new business models, challenging traditional assumptions and finding innovative ways to improve service delivery.”
Cr Lowis said the LGAQ Annual Conference heard a report about a recent LGAQ market research project which showed a majority of Queenslanders wanted better value for money from their councils and wanted to see how their council’s financial management compared to other councils.
“The Better Councils, Better Communities project is about local government listening and responding by driving a culture of high performance to ensure efficient and effective service delivery to our communities,” he said.
“The benchmarking exercise will enable our council to assess its performance in relation to our peers – an honest assessment in comparison with similar councils – and to pursue productivity improvements.”
Cr Lowis said benchmarking would measure core council functions and activities in areas of financial performance and operations.
“Our intention is that, through a productivity and efficiency strategy, our ratepayers will enjoy improved value for money from their council,” he said.
“Better Councils, Better Communities will provide our staff with better information and tools to support their professional duties and will help council to deliver services competitively and to foster innovation and continuous improvement.”
The Better Councils, Better Communities project will establish benchmarks by council type/segment, comprising a suite of high level performance indicators which will be released publicly and will also be used to publish an annual “State of Local Government” report.