Belief in Bunbury council drops: survey

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Bunbury City Council will next week receive the results of the community survey.
Camera IconBunbury City Council will next week receive the results of the community survey. Credit: Graphic / South Western Times

Bunbury’s latest community scorecard has revealed that residents believe Bunbury City Council’s leadership along with understanding its community’s needs are on the decline.

The council will next week receive the results of the community survey, which evaluates the community’s priorities and measures the council’s performance.

The scorecard identifies the community’s belief that development and the council’s communication of a clear vision, advocacy and lobbying on behalf of residents and its ability to provide explanations of the reasons for decisions are also on the decline.

Mayor Gary Brennan said he would not get defensive about the feedback, but conceded there was always room for improvement.

“The feedback that I receive personally is that the city council and staff are doing a pretty good job as far as the community is concerned,” Mr Brennan said.

“There’s always places where we can improve and I accept that and I always acknowledge that continuous improvement should be the focus on everything that we do.

“As far as some of the comments about lacking vision and lacking leadership, I’ve always maintained that the city council’s role is to facilitate and get out of the way.

“I can put it down to the perceptions that individuals have, perhaps we at the city can do more to explain what it is doing to some those individuals.”

“You can go into stats and how many people said this and how many people said that but quite frankly, my position hasn’t changed for the past six years – the city council must facilitate whatever is going on within our city for the good and get out of the way and let those people get on with what they want to do.

“That’s where our growth and prosperity comes from.”

Invitations to complete the survey were sent out to 4000 randomly selected households, with only 469 taking part. An additional 191 residents, 146 “out of area” and 38 “council affiliated” respondents also completed the scorecard, taking the total surveys completed to 844.

In a report to the council, it states that the adverse perceptions could stem from a “fundamental missing piece” by the council of a strong vision, defined focus and consistency of messaging over a sustained period.

It says the council’s Bunbury Promotional Strategy, worth $150,000 in the 2019-20 Budget, would be a “key project in raising community perception”.

“Once Bunbury’s identity and vision is clarified, all public relations activity and strategic campaigns will be leveraged from this, whether that vision is around being the State’s second city, the cultural hub of the South West or the sporting events capital,” the report said.

The scorecard also reveals improved community perception in numerous areas, including Bunbury being a “place to live”, access to education and training and festivals, events and cultural activities.

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