This year, owing to changes to the Local Government Act 2020, the council now needs to present a four-year budget, which it did last month.
It is promising in some respects to actually know a project is at least funded somewhere in the next four years, unlike past years where we just keep hoping year-in, year-out (City Road Master Plan).
However, the problem with it is that while there is a $ figure, we don’t actually know what that allocation will actually be attributed to. To be honest, the council probably doesn’t know either.
It was astounding to see an allocation of $25 million for a new Southbank open space reserve. I have no idea what this is hoping to achieve as the details are quite scant, but I believe it is to purchase open space in Southbank.
While that might be admirable, and I certainly commend the council, I not sure I am aware of too many available blocks of land that are appropriately located to achieve the types of open space outcomes the community might be longing for.
In any case, any open space is still great for Southbank, but I am anxious to learn more about this plan.
But having said that, after the council endorsed the development on Boyd Park and all the great work that SRA had put into ensuring the open space issue was firmly in front of it through our submissions and the Southbank Community Forum, you would have thought someone from the council would have told SRA about this surprise $25 million allocation for open space.
One would have thought this announcement was so big that someone in the council would have been itching to break the exciting news to us. But no … I had to learn about it in a budget story in last month’s Southbank News edition. This is appalling from the council.
While I appreciate there might have been commercial complexities which may have inhibited its ability to break the news, given the budget is a public document then once that media embargo was lifted that would have allowed someone to give us a heads-up.
It just goes back to what I have often complained about with our council is that it often fails to communicate. Some years ago (also at budget time) a motion had to be moved by Cr Rohan Leppert to try to ensure effective communication, and even that motion seemed to have failed Southbank.
I just wonder why it is so difficult at all levels of council to have that light-bulb moment and think to inform residents. Did the CEO or any of the directors or department mangers even think that SRA might like to know about this great news the day it was in the public domain?
I am not holding my breath on improvements with communication. I have been let down far too many times in the past.
Owing to COVID-19 we have decided to delay our AGM by around six weeks and hold it in early September. Remember if you would like to get involved with your local resident group and would like to put something back into the community then the AGM is the time to nominate to join our committee. You will need to be a member of SRA though, but that is only $10 and can be done by going to our website southbankresidents.org.au •
Also, if you missed the opportunity to buy our recently published book by Lynne Lumsden, Tall Stories and True Tales – The first 20 years of the Southbank Residents’ Association these are also available for $15. Just sent us an email if you are interested [email protected]