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City of Casey
Annual Report
2020/21

Year in review

Welcome to the City of Casey’s Annual Report 2020/21.  

The Annual Report is the primary means of updating the community about Council’s performance during the financial year.  

In the past 12 months we have celebrated many achievements, despite facing continued challenges as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  

We remain dedicated to seizing new opportunities while meeting the needs of our growing population as we strive to create a dynamic, resilient and thriving community.  

The 2020/21 financial year marked the final year for the City of Casey’s Council Plan 2017-21, which aligned to the vision to ‘create Australia’s most liveable city’.  

The plan, which guided the work and direction of Council over a four-year period, was informed by our Casey Next community engagement program, which saw over 3,600 people contribute their ideas and share their priorities for the future of Casey.  

Some of the key achievements from the past four years include: 

  • Bunjil Place opened in October 2017, delivering a $125 million arts, entertainment and cultural precinct for the City of Casey. 
  • Council’s major advocacy campaign, Commit to Casey was launched, receiving significant support from the community who worked with Council to lobby members of Parliament and secure funding for local projects from Victorian and Federal Governments. 
  • With the COVID-19 pandemic having a significant impact on the way Council delivered its services, Council successfully transitioned many services to online or home delivery models. Council’s Quick Response Grants were also fast tracked to support local community groups helping those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Council completed upgrades to several sporting facilities, including Stage 2 of the Casey Stadium redevelopment, upgrades at Casey ARC and Casey RACE, and major work at Casey Fields that helped secure the venue as the base for the Melbourne Football Club’s AFLW team. 
  • Council launched the Community Leadership Program which provides free training for new, emerging and existing community leaders in Casey who want to build their leadership skills and learn about community engagement and local government. 

The City of Casey has responded to the far-reaching effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic with a range of measures to support the social and economic wellbeing of the community. These include: 

  • adapting our services, and in some cases moving them online, to enable continued operation while strict social distancing and public health measures are in place 
  • working with a range of agencies and partners to support the provision of food and care packages to vulnerable people in the community 
  • assistance for local businesses 
  • fast-tracking quick response grants for community organisations 
  • developing translated information and resources for Casey’s culturally and linguistically diverse community. 

Council will continue to support the community and local businesses through the ongoing impacts of the pandemic. 

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) held public hearings in 2019 and 2020 into allegations of serious corrupt conduct in relation to planning and property development decisions at the City of Casey. 

The hearings were part of an IBAC investigation, Operation Sandon, into allegations of corrupt conduct involving former Councillors and property developers in the City of Casey. 

The IBAC’s first round of the public hearings ran from 18 November to 6 December 2019. Hearings recommenced on 2 March and were adjourned on 17 March 2020 as a precautionary measure in consideration of public health due to the COVID-19 pandemic, before continuing with with virtual hearings.

We are still awaiting the outcome of Operation Sandon.

The City of Casey has undertaken several actions in response to the report tabled by the Municipal Monitor, Ms Laurinda Gardner in February 2020, including adoption of the Integrity and Ethics Action Plan in July 2020.  
  
A number of key changes were made to the way Council reports and make decisions as a result of this work including:   

  • All Council reports include a section on community engagement in which officers must explain how they have engaged with the community.   
  • No en bloc voting on Council reports. All Council reports must be debated and voted on as separate items.  
  • Council has reduced the number of decisions made in Closed Council from 19 in 2019 to 7 in 2020 which is a 63 per cent reduction and amounts to only three per cent of all decisions made at Council during 2020.  
  • Council has also committed to creating the Casey Good Governance Framework as part of the Council’s Annual Action Plan 2021/22 and has complied with all requirements of the new Local Government Act 2020. 

As part of our response to the Governance Audit, Council also launched the Community Leadership Program in March 2021 to support Casey residents aged 18 and over, who have a desire to build their leadership skills and engage in community life. 

Final year of the Council Plan

The 2020/21 financial year marked the final year for the City of Casey’s Council Plan 2017-21, which aligned to the vision to ‘create Australia’s most liveable city’.  

The plan, which guided the work and direction of Council over a four-year period, was informed by our Casey Next community engagement program, which saw over 3,600 people contribute their ideas and share their priorities for the future of Casey.  

Some of the key achievements from the past four years include: 

  • Bunjil Place opened in October 2017, delivering a $125 million arts, entertainment and cultural precinct for the City of Casey. 
  • Council’s major advocacy campaign, Commit to Casey was launched, receiving significant support from the community who worked with Council to lobby members of Parliament and secure funding for local projects from Victorian and Federal Governments. 
  • With the COVID-19 pandemic having a significant impact on the way Council delivered its services, Council successfully transitioned many services to online or home delivery models. Council’s Quick Response Grants were also fast tracked to support local community groups helping those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Council completed upgrades to several sporting facilities, including Stage 2 of the Casey Stadium redevelopment, upgrades at Casey ARC and Casey RACE, and major work at Casey Fields that helped secure the venue as the base for the Melbourne Football Club’s AFLW team. 
  • Council launched the Community Leadership Program which provides free training for new, emerging and existing community leaders in Casey who want to build their leadership skills and learn about community engagement and local government. 

COVID-19 pandemic response

The City of Casey has responded to the far-reaching effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic with a range of measures to support the social and economic wellbeing of the community. These include: 

  • adapting our services, and in some cases moving them online, to enable continued operation while strict social distancing and public health measures are in place 
  • working with a range of agencies and partners to support the provision of food and care packages to vulnerable people in the community 
  • assistance for local businesses 
  • fast-tracking quick response grants for community organisations 
  • developing translated information and resources for Casey’s culturally and linguistically diverse community. 

Council will continue to support the community and local businesses through the ongoing impacts of the pandemic. 

IBAC Investigation

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) held public hearings in 2019 and 2020 into allegations of serious corrupt conduct in relation to planning and property development decisions at the City of Casey. 

The hearings were part of an IBAC investigation, Operation Sandon, into allegations of corrupt conduct involving former Councillors and property developers in the City of Casey. 

The IBAC’s first round of the public hearings ran from 18 November to 6 December 2019. Hearings recommenced on 2 March and were adjourned on 17 March 2020 as a precautionary measure in consideration of public health due to the COVID-19 pandemic, before continuing with with virtual hearings.

We are still awaiting the outcome of Operation Sandon.

Municipal Monitor’s Report update

The City of Casey has undertaken several actions in response to the report tabled by the Municipal Monitor, Ms Laurinda Gardner in February 2020, including adoption of the Integrity and Ethics Action Plan in July 2020.  
  
A number of key changes were made to the way Council reports and make decisions as a result of this work including:   

  • All Council reports include a section on community engagement in which officers must explain how they have engaged with the community.   
  • No en bloc voting on Council reports. All Council reports must be debated and voted on as separate items.  
  • Council has reduced the number of decisions made in Closed Council from 19 in 2019 to 7 in 2020 which is a 63 per cent reduction and amounts to only three per cent of all decisions made at Council during 2020.  
  • Council has also committed to creating the Casey Good Governance Framework as part of the Council’s Annual Action Plan 2021/22 and has complied with all requirements of the new Local Government Act 2020. 

As part of our response to the Governance Audit, Council also launched the Community Leadership Program in March 2021 to support Casey residents aged 18 and over, who have a desire to build their leadership skills and engage in community life. 

Major capital works

A number of new recreation reserves and open space developments were delivered in 2020/21 to cater for our growing community and the increase in participation in sport, especially among women and youth.

Selandra Recreation Reserve 

Officially opened in March, this $9.98 million facility in Clyde North includes: 

  • three soccer pitches 
  • two cricket ovals and cricket nets 
  • multipurpose community pavilion with unisex amenities 
  • community room 
  • playground and public seating. 

The project was funded through $1.5 million from the State Government’s Growing Suburbs Fund and an additional $800,000 from the Sport and Recreation Community Infrastructure Fund, up to $6 million in developer contributions and Council’s own contribution of $2.7 million.

Ramlegh Active Open Space development 

This $10.9 million project in Clyde North includes: 

  • three soccer pitches 
  • two cricket ovals and cricket nets 
  • multipurpose pavilion for school and community use 
  • district level playground 
  • shared walking and cycling paths.

Livingston Active Open Space development 

This $12.4 million project in Cranbourne East was completed in May and includes:

  • two full-sized AFL/cricket oval 
  • two netball courts 
  • cricket nets 
  • multipurpose pavilion 
  • district level playground 
  • shared walking and cycling paths. 

 

A number of new and upgraded sporting pavilions were delivered in 2020/21, to cater for our growing communities and the increase in participation in sport, especially among women and youth. 

Morning Mist Reserve Pony Club 

Opened in March, the new $904,000 pavilion will cater for the growing needs of the Cranbourne Pony Club and aligns with Council’s Equestrian Strategy and standards. 

Edwin Flack Reserve JE Hower Pavilion, Berwick

Completed in January as part of a larger upgrade to the reserve, the $700,650 upgrade included: 

  • upgraded lighting 
  • new flooring 
  • internal painting 
  • a small extension to increase the size of the changeroms and incision of a canteen. 

Sydney Pargeter Men’s Shed, Endeavour Hills

Completed in September, the $1.206 million project was jointly funded with $80,000 from the Victorian Government, $40,000 from the user group and the remainder from Council. The work included construction of a new shed with workspace, kitchen, social area, car park and rain harvest system.

Frog Hollow Reserve Rugby Pavilion, Endeavour Hills

Completed in September, this $3.5 million project was funded by Council with a $100,000 contribution from the Victorian Government through Sport and Recreation Victoria. 

It included construction of a new regional level rugby union pavilion to better support female participation and deliver a much-needed community space.

Manks Road, Clyde

Roadworks to improve safety along Manks Road in Clyde, from South Gippsland Highway to the bridge at the western contour drain, were completed in May. 

The $1.133 million project included resealing the road and sealing the shoulders on both sides of Manks Road. 

Recreation reserves

A number of new recreation reserves and open space developments were delivered in 2020/21 to cater for our growing community and the increase in participation in sport, especially among women and youth.

Selandra Recreation Reserve 

Officially opened in March, this $9.98 million facility in Clyde North includes: 

  • three soccer pitches 
  • two cricket ovals and cricket nets 
  • multipurpose community pavilion with unisex amenities 
  • community room 
  • playground and public seating. 

The project was funded through $1.5 million from the State Government’s Growing Suburbs Fund and an additional $800,000 from the Sport and Recreation Community Infrastructure Fund, up to $6 million in developer contributions and Council’s own contribution of $2.7 million.

Ramlegh Active Open Space development 

This $10.9 million project in Clyde North includes: 

  • three soccer pitches 
  • two cricket ovals and cricket nets 
  • multipurpose pavilion for school and community use 
  • district level playground 
  • shared walking and cycling paths.

Livingston Active Open Space development 

This $12.4 million project in Cranbourne East was completed in May and includes:

  • two full-sized AFL/cricket oval 
  • two netball courts 
  • cricket nets 
  • multipurpose pavilion 
  • district level playground 
  • shared walking and cycling paths. 

 

Sports pavilions

A number of new and upgraded sporting pavilions were delivered in 2020/21, to cater for our growing communities and the increase in participation in sport, especially among women and youth. 

Morning Mist Reserve Pony Club 

Opened in March, the new $904,000 pavilion will cater for the growing needs of the Cranbourne Pony Club and aligns with Council’s Equestrian Strategy and standards. 

Edwin Flack Reserve JE Hower Pavilion, Berwick

Completed in January as part of a larger upgrade to the reserve, the $700,650 upgrade included: 

  • upgraded lighting 
  • new flooring 
  • internal painting 
  • a small extension to increase the size of the changeroms and incision of a canteen. 

Sydney Pargeter Men’s Shed, Endeavour Hills

Completed in September, the $1.206 million project was jointly funded with $80,000 from the Victorian Government, $40,000 from the user group and the remainder from Council. The work included construction of a new shed with workspace, kitchen, social area, car park and rain harvest system.

Frog Hollow Reserve Rugby Pavilion, Endeavour Hills

Completed in September, this $3.5 million project was funded by Council with a $100,000 contribution from the Victorian Government through Sport and Recreation Victoria. 

It included construction of a new regional level rugby union pavilion to better support female participation and deliver a much-needed community space.

Roadworks

Manks Road, Clyde

Roadworks to improve safety along Manks Road in Clyde, from South Gippsland Highway to the bridge at the western contour drain, were completed in May. 

The $1.133 million project included resealing the road and sealing the shoulders on both sides of Manks Road. 

Our performance

The Annual Report 2020/21 outlines Council’s performance in relation to the Council Plan 2017-21 and the three strategic objectives and eight supporting strategies contained in the plan. 

Council’s performance for 2020/21 reports against each Strategic Objective to show what Council accomplished in line with the city’s vision to be ‘Australia’s Most Liveable City’. 

Strategic Objective 1 – People driven

The City of Casey strives to deliver services and infrastructure that meet the needs of its growing community. Creating a well-connected transport network is vital to support the rapid growth in the municipality so that our residents and visitors are able to get around with ease. We want to create a place where people feel safe, included within their community and socially connected.

In 2020/21:

  • Council endorsed its Affordable Housing Strategy, which explains Council’s vision for a city in which all residents have access to secure, appropriate and affordable housing. 
  • The City of Casey joined with partner Councils in the region in a collective effort to address homelessness by signing the Regional Local Government Homelessness and Social Housing Charter. 
  • A new Community Leadership Program was launched to provide free training for new, emerging and existing community leaders in Casey who want to build their leadership skills and learn about community engagement and local government. 
  • Council’s advocacy efforts were reward with the significant Australian Government funding for local roads and community infrastructure projects and Victorian Government funding for six local building projects through the 2020/21 Growing Suburbs Fund (GSF). 
  • A new Community Engagement Policy was adopted to ensure community consultation takes centre stage in shaping Council projects and programs in support of the local community. 

 

Strategic Objective 2 – A place to prosper

The City of Casey aims to be a place in which our residents and visitors can thrive, with a local economy that fosters innovation and supports local jobs. Casey aspires to be a leading local authority, that leverages the strength of the region in advocacy, regional planning and investment. We want to enhance our natural environment and provide access to cultural experiences and events that celebrate the diversity of our community and foster connection and wellbeing.

In 2020/21:

  • Upgrades of Council’s major aquatic facilities were completed, including a total roof replacement at Casey ARC and significant renovations at Casey RACE including retiling of four pools, renovating the spa, steam and sauna area and replacing the heating and ventilation system. 
  • A new $8 million sporting hub at Casey Fields was completed with a new indoor training facility and a strength and conditioning centre. The hub will not only boost community sport, but will support elite level competition to the venue, including the AFLW. 
  • Melbourne City Football Club (FC) announced its relocation to Casey Fields. A new City Football Academy (CFA) is currently being built with an elite training pitch, four full-sized floodlit pitches and a two-story elite performance headquarters building. 
  • Two new centres were opened in Clyde North, Manna Gum Family and Community Centre and Ramlegh Family and Community Centre, with dedicated spaces for early years programs such as Maternal and Child Health and kindergarten, plus multipurpose community rooms and secure outdoor yards. 
  • The Cranbourne West Community Hub opened, delivering a range of multipurpose community spaces and a business zone catering for small businesses and remote workers. 

Strategic Objective 3 – A high performing organisation

The City of Casey strives to be an efficient and effective organisation. Council is focused on innovation and continuous improvement to transform the way we deliver services to our community. We aim to optimise the use of technology and digital solutions, and will focus on our customers to create a seamless customer experience.

In 2020/21:

  • Council’s new Casey Long-Term Community Vision 2031 and Council Plan 2021-25 was endorsed following extensive community engagement. 
  • Three City of Casey projects were recognised at the Keep Victoria Beautiful 2020 Sustainable Cities Awards held in November 2020: the Casey ARC Energy Savers program, the Bollard Camera initiative and the Integrated Water Management Program. 
  • The Smart City Launchpad program began, guiding how Council uses technology and innovation to build a connected, sustainable and inclusive community. 
  • A digital planning application program, E-Property, was launched to streamline the planning process, improve the quality of applications and enhance the customer experience. 
  • A language translation service and text-to-speech function was added to Council’s website to make online information more accessible for Casey’s culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) community. 

Strategic Objective 1

Strategic Objective 1 – People driven

The City of Casey strives to deliver services and infrastructure that meet the needs of its growing community. Creating a well-connected transport network is vital to support the rapid growth in the municipality so that our residents and visitors are able to get around with ease. We want to create a place where people feel safe, included within their community and socially connected.

In 2020/21:

  • Council endorsed its Affordable Housing Strategy, which explains Council’s vision for a city in which all residents have access to secure, appropriate and affordable housing. 
  • The City of Casey joined with partner Councils in the region in a collective effort to address homelessness by signing the Regional Local Government Homelessness and Social Housing Charter. 
  • A new Community Leadership Program was launched to provide free training for new, emerging and existing community leaders in Casey who want to build their leadership skills and learn about community engagement and local government. 
  • Council’s advocacy efforts were reward with the significant Australian Government funding for local roads and community infrastructure projects and Victorian Government funding for six local building projects through the 2020/21 Growing Suburbs Fund (GSF). 
  • A new Community Engagement Policy was adopted to ensure community consultation takes centre stage in shaping Council projects and programs in support of the local community. 

 

Strategic Objective 2

Strategic Objective 2 – A place to prosper

The City of Casey aims to be a place in which our residents and visitors can thrive, with a local economy that fosters innovation and supports local jobs. Casey aspires to be a leading local authority, that leverages the strength of the region in advocacy, regional planning and investment. We want to enhance our natural environment and provide access to cultural experiences and events that celebrate the diversity of our community and foster connection and wellbeing.

In 2020/21:

  • Upgrades of Council’s major aquatic facilities were completed, including a total roof replacement at Casey ARC and significant renovations at Casey RACE including retiling of four pools, renovating the spa, steam and sauna area and replacing the heating and ventilation system. 
  • A new $8 million sporting hub at Casey Fields was completed with a new indoor training facility and a strength and conditioning centre. The hub will not only boost community sport, but will support elite level competition to the venue, including the AFLW. 
  • Melbourne City Football Club (FC) announced its relocation to Casey Fields. A new City Football Academy (CFA) is currently being built with an elite training pitch, four full-sized floodlit pitches and a two-story elite performance headquarters building. 
  • Two new centres were opened in Clyde North, Manna Gum Family and Community Centre and Ramlegh Family and Community Centre, with dedicated spaces for early years programs such as Maternal and Child Health and kindergarten, plus multipurpose community rooms and secure outdoor yards. 
  • The Cranbourne West Community Hub opened, delivering a range of multipurpose community spaces and a business zone catering for small businesses and remote workers. 

Strategic Objective 3

Strategic Objective 3 – A high performing organisation

The City of Casey strives to be an efficient and effective organisation. Council is focused on innovation and continuous improvement to transform the way we deliver services to our community. We aim to optimise the use of technology and digital solutions, and will focus on our customers to create a seamless customer experience.

In 2020/21:

  • Council’s new Casey Long-Term Community Vision 2031 and Council Plan 2021-25 was endorsed following extensive community engagement. 
  • Three City of Casey projects were recognised at the Keep Victoria Beautiful 2020 Sustainable Cities Awards held in November 2020: the Casey ARC Energy Savers program, the Bollard Camera initiative and the Integrated Water Management Program. 
  • The Smart City Launchpad program began, guiding how Council uses technology and innovation to build a connected, sustainable and inclusive community. 
  • A digital planning application program, E-Property, was launched to streamline the planning process, improve the quality of applications and enhance the customer experience. 
  • A language translation service and text-to-speech function was added to Council’s website to make online information more accessible for Casey’s culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) community. 

Moving forward

There are a number of factors that will impact on Council’s performance in the coming year: 

  • Responding to the ongoing impacts and disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic within our community and more broadly. 
  • Supporting our most vulnerable community members experiencing homelessness, family violence and mental health issues. 
  • Declining health and wellbeing across Casey including social dislocation, leading to rising rates of loneliness and social isolation, low social cohesion and perceptions of public safety. 
  • There exists a skills shortage and poor alignment between local skilled residents and the local economy. 
  • Improvement in technology is changing the way individuals, businesses and government interact, including the evolution of communication and Smart City technology. 
  • Casey’s natural environment has been significantly degraded over time, predominantly due to population growth. This will result in significant health, wellbeing, aesthetic and economic impacts over time. Given Casey’s sustained high growth, balancing future growth and positive environmental outcomes is becoming increasingly difficult.

Future outlook

  • Delivering sustainable infrastructure and ensuring we design, build and cultivate places that create a sense of belonging, connection and pride. 
  • Growing Casey’s current and emerging economies including building and leveraging partnerships to help enhance service provision, infrastructure delivery and funding opportunities. 
  • Fostering environmentally sustainable practices and working towards being climate-change ready. 
  • Continuing to work with and advocate to the State and Federal Governments for key service and infrastructure delivery for Casey residents. 
  • Creating a resilient, active and connected community that addresses key health and wellbeing needs by connecting people to community and services. 
  • Ensuring good governance practices and transparent decision making, including growing the capacity of community leadership through dedicated leadership programs and pathways. 
  • Creating an adaptable, innovative and financially sustainable organisation that delivers maximum community benefit and that enhances Casey’s future readiness. 

Financial overview

The operating surplus reinforces the continued delivery of services and necessary community infrastructure. In 2020/21 Council achieved a surplus of $223.6 million. 

This surplus is higher than the prior year surplus of $169.3 million, primarily due to higher levels of contributed assets from new estates transferring to Council due to an increase in the level of development activity across Casey. The surplus is underpinned by: 

  • Subdivision ($149 million) and new estates transferring to Council. 
  • Developer contributions from Development Contribution Plans that fund future approved projects ($71.1 million). 
  • Capital grants for some projects ($17.2 million) and supplementary rates in line with development activity.

Short-term cash and other current financial assets at 30 June 2021 of $349.1 million increased from $303.4 million over the year and was affected by the profile of the Capital Works Program. This led to a slight reduction in the working capital ratio (current assets as a percentage of current liabilities) with 298 per cent providing a satisfactory financial position above the target band of 98 per cent to 200 per cent. 

Council’s debt ratio is measured by comparing interest-bearing loans and borrowings to rate revenue. At the end of 2020/21, this ratio was 18.1 per cent, which was within the target band of up to 60 per cent, and below Council’s preferred maximum of 40 per cent. Council will progressively repay all existing loans over the next 10 years.

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