2 July 2008

 

Dear Councillor,

In pursuance of the provisions of the Local Government Act, 1993 and the Regulations thereunder, notice is hereby given that a POLICY REVIEW COMMITTEE MEETING of Penrith City Council is to be held in the Passadena Room, Civic Centre, 601 High Street, Penrith on Monday 7 July 2008 at 7:30PM.

Attention is directed to the statement accompanying this notice of the business proposed to be transacted at the meeting.

Yours Faithfully

 

 

Alan Stoneham

General Manager

 

BUSINESS

 

1.           LEAVE OF ABSENCE

Leave of absence has been granted to:

Councillor Pat Sheehy AM - 2 July 2008 to 4 August 2008 inclusive.

 

2.           APOLOGIES

 

3.           CONFIRMATION OF MINUTES

Policy Review Committee Meeting - 16 June 2008.

 

4.           DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Pecuniary Interest (The Act requires Councillors who declare a pecuniary interest in an item to leave the meeting during discussion of that item)

Non-Pecuniary Interest

 

5.           ADDRESSING THE MEETING

 

6.           MAYORAL MINUTES

 

7.           NOTICES OF MOTION

 

8.           ADOPTION OF REPORTS AND RECOMMENDATION OF COMMITTEES

 

9.           MASTER PROGRAM REPORTS

 

10.         URGENT REPORTS (to be dealt with in the master program to which the item relates)

 

11.         QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

 

12.         COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE


POLICY REVIEW COMMITTEE MEETING

 

Monday 7 July 2008

 

table of contents

 

 

 

 

 

 

meeting calendar

 

 

confirmation of minutes

 

 

master program reports

 


 

2008 MEETING CALENDAR

February 2008 - December 2008

 

 

TIME

FEB

MAR

APRIL

MAY

JUNE

JULY

AUG

SEPT

OCT

NOV

DEC

Mon

Mon

Mon

Mon

Mon

Mon

Mon

Mon

 

 

 

 

To be

confirmed.

 

 

Ordinary Meetings

7.30 pm

4

10

7

5v

 

14

4

8ü

25

 

21

19

23* 

 

 

29^

Policy Review Committee

7.30 pm

 

3

 

12#

 

7

 

1

18#+

31@

28

 

16

28

18#+

 

Councillor Briefing / Working Party / Presentation

7.30 pm

11

 

14

 

2Y

 

11

 

 

17

 

26

30

21

25

 

 

#    Meetings at which the Management Plan ¼ly reviews are presented.

^     Election of Mayor/Deputy Mayor

#+  General Manager’s presentation – half year and end of year review

@   Strategic Program progress reports [only business]

v   Meeting at which the Draft Management Plan is adopted for exhibition

ü    Meeting at which the 2007/2008 Annual Statements are presented

*     Meeting at which the Management Plan for 2008/2009 is adopted

Y   Management Plan Councillor Briefings/Public Forum (May)

 

-                 Council’s Ordinary Meetings are held on a three-week cycle where practicable.

-                 Extraordinary Meetings are held as required.

-                 Policy Review Meetings are held on a three-week cycle where practicable.

-                 Members of the public are invited to observe meetings of the Council (Ordinary and Policy Review Committee). Should you wish to address Council, please contact the Public Officer, Glenn McCarthy on 4732 7649.



UNCONFIRMED MINUTES

 OF THE POLICY REVIEW COMMITTEE MEETING OF PENRITH CITY COUNCIL HELD IN THE PASSADENA ROOM, PENRITH

ON MONDAY 16 JUNE 2008 AT 7:32PM

PRESENT

His Worship the Mayor Councillor Greg Davies, Councillors Kaylene Allison, Lexie Cettolin, Kevin Crameri OAM, Mark Davies, Ross Fowler OAM, Jackie Greenow, Karen McKeown, Garry Rumble, Pat Sheehy AM, Steve Simat and John Thain.

 

APOLOGIES

There were no apologies.

 

LEAVE OF ABSENCE

The following requests for Leave of Absence were received:

Councillor Jim Aitken OAM from 16 June 2006 to 22 June 2008 inclusive.

Councillor David Bradbury for 16 June, 23 June and 1 September 2008.

Councillor Susan Page for 16 June 2008.

PRC 37 RESOLVED on the MOTION of Councillor Pat Sheehy AM seconded Councillor John Thain that Leave of Absence be granted to Councillor Jim Aitken OAM for the period 16 June 2008 to 22 June 2008 inclusive; Councillor David Bradbury for 16 June, 23 June and 1 September 2008; and Councillor Susan Page for 16 June 2008.

 

CONFIRMATION OF MINUTES - Policy Review Committee Meeting - 12 May 2008

PRC 38  RESOLVED on the MOTION of Councillor Garry Rumble seconded Councillor Steve Simat that the minutes of the Policy Review Committee Meeting of 12 May 2008 be confirmed.

 

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

 There were no declarations of interest.

 

MASTER PROGRAM REPORTS

 

The City as a Social Place

 

1        Amendments to the State's Liquor Laws                                                                          

PRC 39  RESOLVED on the MOTION of Councillor Garry Rumble seconded Councillor Karen McKeown

That:

1.     The information contained in the report on Amendments to the State's Liquor Laws be received.

2.     Council require development consent for all premises seeking a liquor license, including any amendment to an existing liquor license. This position be incorporated in the draft Penrith Local Environmental Plan that will apply across the entire City.

3.     The submission to the Department of Planning in response to the proposed NSW Commercial Building Code include a recommendation that the Code remove premises that need a liquor licence from being categorised as complying development.

4.     If the recommendations for changes to the NSW Commercial Building Code are not adopted, Council seek an exemption from the Code provisions and substitute the requirements of Council’s proposed policy for exempt and complying development.

5.     The current conditions of consent that apply to land uses that require a liquor license be reviewed and amended, if necessary.

6.     All staff be made aware of the proposed changes and the likely impact on their responsibilities.

7.     Council’s development approval procedures be reviewed as a result of the new liquor laws in line with any other changes that occur following submission to the Department of Planning in response to the proposed NSW Commercial Building Code.

 

The City Supported by Infrastructure

 

2        Penrith Integrated Transport and Land Use Strategy                                                      

PRC 40  RESOLVED on the MOTION of Councillor Mark Davies seconded Councillor Pat Sheehy AM

That:

1.     The information contained in the report on Penrith Integrated Transport and Land Use Strategy be received.

2.     The final draft Penrith Integrated Transport and Land Use Strategy (PITLUS) report be endorsed by Council.

3.     Formal endorsement of the Penrith Integrated Transport and Land Use Strategy (PITLUS) by the relevant State Agencies be secured and Local State Members of Parliament be invited to make representations on behalf of the community with a view to achieving formal endorsement of State Agencies.

4.     Craig Ross, Council’s Design and Technical Advice Manager, be thanked for his involvement and efforts in this matter.

 

Leadership and Organisation

 

3        Grant Application Process                                                                                                 

PRC 41  RESOLVED on the MOTION of Councillor Jackie Greenow seconded Councillor Karen McKeown

That:

1.     The information contained in the report on Grant Application Process be received.

 

2.     The amended Policy on Grant Applications by Staff, as shown in the Draft Policy Document appended to this report, be adopted.

 

3.     Details of the process to be followed by staff be reported to the Policy Review Committee.

 

QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

 

QWN 1      Request for Financial Assistance – Penrith Senior Choir                                       

His Worship the Mayor, Councillor Greg Davies, advised that he had received a request from Thelma Anderson seeking Council’s financial assistance for the purchase of a keyboard for the Penrith Senior Choir. 

 

PRC 42  RESOLVED on the MOTION of Councillor Greg Davies seconded Councillor Ross Fowler that the matter be brought forward and dealt with as a matter of urgency.

 

His Worship the Mayor, Councillor Greg Davies, ruled that the matter was urgent and should be dealt with at the meeting.

 

PRC 43  RESOLVED on the MOTION of Councillor Greg Davies seconded Councillor Ross Fowler that an amount of $1,500 be allocated by Council for the purchase of a keyboard for the Penrith Senior Choir, to be funded from an equal allocation of $500 from North Ward, South Ward and East Ward voted works. 

 

Councillor Karen McKeown left the meeting and did not return, the time being 7:57 pm.

 

Councillor John Thain left the meeting and did not return, the time being 7:57 pm.

 

CoNFIDENTIAL BUSINESS

 

PRC 44 RESOLVED on the MOTION of Councillor Pat Sheehy AM seconded by Councillor Kaylene Allison that the meeting close to consider confidential business, the time being 7:57pm.

 

1        Presence of the Public

 

PRC 45 RESOLVED on the motion of Councillor Pat Sheehy AM seconded Councillor Kaylene Allison that the press and public be excluded from the meeting to deal with the following matter:

 

City in its Broader Context

 

2        Western Sydney Employment Hub Extension                                                                  

 

This item has been referred to Confidential Business as the report refers to commercial information of a confidential nature that would, if disclosed (i) prejudice the commercial position of the person who supplied it; or (ii) confer a commercial advantage on a competitor of the Council; or (iii) reveal a trade secret and discussion of the matter in open meeting would be, on balance, contrary to the public interest.

 

RESUMPTION OF BUSINESS IN OPEN COMMITTEE

 

The meeting resumed at 8:46 pm and the General Manager reported that, after excluding the press and public from the meeting, the Policy Review Committee met in confidential session from 7:57 pm to 8:46 pm to consider a commercial matter in regard to the Western Sydney Employment Hub Extension Precinct.

 

The General Manager reported that while in confidential session, the Committee resolved as follows:

 

2        Western Sydney Employment Hub Extension                                                                  

PRC 46  RESOLVED on the MOTION of Councillor Pat Sheehy AM seconded Councillor Ross Fowler OAM

That:

1.         The information contained in the report on Western Sydney Employment Hub Extension be received.

2.         The Department of Planning be formally advised of the issues raised in this report and requested to address them in planning for the extension of the Western Sydney Employment Hub.

 

 

 

 

There being no further business the Chairperson declared the meeting closed the time being 8:47pm.

    


 

Item                                                                                                                                       Page

 

 

The City as a Social Place

 

1        The Kingswood Park Neighbourhood Action Plan 2008

 

2        Neighbourhood Renewal Program - Priority Area Assessment Project 

    

Leadership and Organisation

 

3        Preparations for the 2009+ Strategic Plan

 

4        State Review of Taxes

 

 


 

 

 

 

THIS PAGE HAS BEEN LEFT BLANK  INTENTIONALLY


 

 

The City in its Broader Context

 

 

There were no reports under this Master Program when the Business Paper was compiled


 

 

 

 

THIS PAGE HAS BEEN LEFT BLANK  INTENTIONALLY


The City as a Social Place

 

Item                                                                                                                                       Page

 

1        The Kingswood Park Neighbourhood Action Plan 2008

 

2        Neighbourhood Renewal Program - Priority Area Assessment Project 

 

 



Policy Review Committee Meeting

7 July 2008

The City as a Social Place

 

 

The City as a Social Place

 

 

1

The Kingswood Park Neighbourhood Action Plan 2008   

 

Compiled by:                Heather Chaffey, Community Engagement Officer

Cali Vandyk-Dunlevy, Cultural Development Officer

Jeni Pollard, Neighbourhood Renewal Program Coordinator

Authorised by:             Erich Weller, Acting Director – City Services   

Strategic Program Term Achievement: A program of renewal for selected neighbourhoods that contributes to a sense of community identity and cohesiveness is being implemented.

Critical Action: Implement agreed strategies for the delivery of facilities, services and infrastructure.

 

Presenter:                    Erich Weller - Acting Director-City Services - Kingswood Park Neighbourhood Action Plan 2008    

Purpose:

To inform Council  of the community engagement processes undertaken in the Kingswood Park locality and the resulting Kingswood Park Neighbourhood Action Plan 2008.  The report recommends that Council receive the information contained in the report and endorse the Kingswood Park Neighbourhood Action Plan 2008.

 

Background

Over recent years, Council has placed increasing emphasis on balancing the resources directed towards planning and implementation in new release areas to that of older established areas of the City. The Penrith Neighbourhood Renewal Program is focussed on particular suburbs and rural localities which are considered to be relatively disadvantaged according to the SEIFA Index of Relative Disadvantage. A further discussion on these areas and localities is addressed in the accompanying report on the Priority Area Assessment Project that is also before Council at this meeting. 

 

The SEIFA Index of Relative Disadvantage is utilised to measure disadvantage across suburbs and regions.  The Penrith LGA has 12 suburbs or rural localities considered to be of relative disadvantage compared to the NSW average, as calculated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.   These areas are (in alphabetical order) Cambridge Park, Colyton, Cranebrook, Kingswood, Llandilo, Londonderry, North Penrith (including the locality of Kingswood Park), North St Marys, Oxley Park, Penrith suburb, St Marys and Werrington.  Substantial work has been undertaken by Council over many years in Cranebrook and the last five years in North St Marys and Werrington.  All of these areas are established areas which were largely developed prior to the 1980’s and without access to S94 funds.

 

Following the work undertaken by Elton Consulting, the agreed approach to Neighbourhood Renewal has been to undertake extensive community engagement, both Council driven and in partnership with key stakeholders to develop a Neighbourhood Action Plan.

 

Neighbourhood Action Plans (NAPs) support a planned and coordinated approach to addressing the complex interplay of social disadvantage, access to economic and cultural participation, poor physical infrastructure, generally poorer public amenity and reduced civic engagement. NAPs incorporate specific responses required to address identified community issues and needs. Actions for implementation that are included in the NAP are reported to Council through the Management Plan reporting process through the specific strategic task in Issue 13: Established Neighbourhoods as well as through reporting on the Neighbourhood Renewal service. Furthermore, the NAP and progress on implementation will also be reported to the community through local activities and via a community newsletter.

 

It is envisaged that in the first instance the NAPs will be implemented over four years.

 

This report will outline the methods of engagement undertaken in Kingswood Park over the last 10 months, and the results of this engagement process including further actions that residents have identified. The report will discuss activities and actions taken to date and focus on the engagement and consultation process to develop a plan for a neighbourhood park with new playground equipment in Kingswood Park.

 

Kingswood Park Locality

The locality of Kingswood Park, located within North Penrith, has been selected as the first area to be targeted for the development of a Neighbourhood Action Plan (NAP). This process involves implementing a comprehensive community engagement strategy, including a community planning session to identify from a resident and other stakeholder perspective what are the principal concerns in the local community.  This is complemented by other research to assist in the formulation of the NAP.

 

Kingswood Park for the purposes of this report is defined as the locality bounded by Parker Street in the east, Coreen Avenue in the south, Andrews Road in the north and the Coombes Drive industrial area in the west.

 

 

A brief demographic profile of Kingswood Park is provided at Attachment 1. An analysis of the data from the 2006 Census suggests that Kingswood Park has made some progress since the 2001 Census but it is still clearly of relative disadvantage within the Penrith LGA.

 

Kingswood Park was selected as one of the localities with the lowest SEIFA index score. Community services and government agencies played a role in advocating for the Neighbourhood Renewal Project to develop a NAP for Kingswood Park. These services include Housing NSW, the NSW Department of Community Services, SPYNS Inc. and the Werrington Community Project. The internal Established Areas Strategy Team agreed to proceed with the development of a Neighbourhood Action Plan for this locality.

 

Developing a Neighbourhood Action Plan for Kingswood Park

The NAP for Kingswood Park has been developed through creative community engagement and robust discussion. The engagement process has identified community strengths and addresses the contributing factors to the social disadvantage by supporting the strengths within each community. The development of the NAP in Kingswood Park as well as the implementation of actions is underpinned by strong partnership arrangements with both community organisations as well as other levels of government.

 

Kingswood Park Festival – temporary tattoo stall

The engagement process in Kingswood Park incorporated a series of community events and consultations which were specifically designed to engage a diverse range of stakeholders within the local community. Specific events and activities were held with older residents, children and young people, families, and public housing tenants. Engagement activities included an arts and photography project for children, a focus group and photographic exercise with older residents, a community festival and survey, and a Parkour workshop for young people. The Kingswood Park Primary School, Department of Housing, SPYNS and ICE (Information and Cultural Exchange) were all partners in the process of engaging with residents during the various activities. A more detailed overview of the range of community engagement activities is provided in Attachment 2. 

 

Methods used in each consultation were designed to be age appropriate and written in plain English in order to be accessible to people with varying levels of literacy.  Face to face surveys were completed with participants to encourage discussion, contemporary technologies and popular culture were utilised when working with young people, written tasks were accompanied by images, and in most cases there were alternative ways for residents to respond apart from written questions.

 

Some focus groups were held, but most engagement events were less structured and designed with interaction and resident interest in activities as the framing principles.  The purpose was for participants to also enjoy themselves.

 

Community Planning and Priorities

The objective of the Community Planning Session in Kingswood Park was to gain a greater understanding of the level of importance placed on different issues and requested actions identified by residents throughout the engagement process. This session aimed at providing a framework through which Council can prioritise actions for future work in the locality.

 

The Community Planning Session was well attended with 20 adult residents and 14 children attending. Childcare and a meal were provided and five local community workers also attended the meeting.

 

 

Groups of residents engaging in Community Planning at Kingswood Park

 

The session included short presentations from the Community and Cultural Development Manager on the Neighbourhood Renewal program, the Neighbourhood Renewal Co-ordinator on the demographic profile of the locality, and the Community Engagement Officer on the preliminary findings of the engagement process.

 

Residents and community workers were divided into small groups facilitated by Council staff to prioritise the many issues raised during the extensive engagement process. As a result the findings within the final Kingswood Park Neighbourhood Action Plan Report are grouped according to themes and include key resident priorities to be considered by Council in the development of the Neighbourhood Action Plan (NAP).  The Kingswood Park Neighbourhood Action Plan Report is provided as a separate document for Councillors.

 

Emerging Themes

The findings of the overall community engagement process are detailed below in themes. The strengths of the neighbourhood are also briefly summarised. Four themes are then discussed in terms of the key priority actions requested by residents through the engagement process and more particularly the Community Planning Session. Further detailed information on each of the themes is also available in the Kingswood Park Neighbourhood Action Plan Report.

 

The priorities identified by residents include matters that are the responsibility of both Council as well as State or Federal funded community and other services. Where Council is not the principal responsible authority for an issue there may well be a role for Council to advocate for action to be taken.

 

Please note that the key requests/issues identified by residents in the themes are summarised here but are specifically detailed as actions in the Neighbourhood Action Plan. The Neighbourhood Action Plan is provided as Attachment 3.

 

These specific actions in the NAP have all been agreed to by the responsible Council manager.  Many of these actions will be delivered through Council services, including adjustments to existing programs.

 

Neighbourhood Strengths

Kingswood Park is a quiet and friendly community which is proud of its open space, has a sense of community and has convenient access to the local shopping centre and to Penrith. Residents of Kingswood Park are proud of their neighbourhood.

 

Young people are often actively involved in sports and recreation activities. They expressed strong friendships and connections with family in the area.

 

Both the local Primary School and Community Centre are seen as unique assets and there is a commitment to increase community access and the variety of programs available within both settings.

 

Kingswood Park Primary School – a community strength

 

Community Harmony and Safety

Community harmony and safety were considered of very high importance by residents. Residents have made the following key requests in regard to community safety and harmony.

 

·    That lights be installed in parks and public spaces

·    That the maintenance of children’s play areas in parks be increased

·    That programs are implemented which provide recreation and support for youth

·    Alcohol and other drugs were seen by all age groups as an issue.

 

Public Spaces and Parks

Public spaces and parks were also a very high priority for residents. Residents have made the following requests for action.

 

·    That quality play equipment for small children is installed in local parks

·    Residents requested a recreation area for young people

·    Maintenance of parks was consistently raised as an issue by residents

·    That Council better maintain footpaths and construct more footpaths in key locations.

 

Traffic and Transport

Residents have requested the following in regard to traffic and transport.

 

·    Several requests were made in regard to negotiating with local bus service providers on bus routes and bus stops

·    That Council advocate for a reduction in speed limits or the development of slow points in streets surrounding the Primary School and other specific areas

·    That Council increase road maintenance services in the area

·    A program promoting helmets and road safety for children and young people

 

Access to Services

Residents have made a number of recommendations regarding families in the neighbourhood.

 

·    That Council advocate for Nepean Community College to make courses available at the Community Centre for parents

·    That Council support the Community Centre to promote local programs

·    That Council work with Housing NSW and local residents to address planning for local tenancies and support the strengthening of a sense of community.

 

The following requests have been made by residents in regard to young people and access to services.

 

·    Programs which support young people to continue to participate in education

·    Recreational activities for young people during school holidays.

·    Intervention and support for young families.

 

The following requests have been made in regard to access to opportunities for employment and education.

 

·    Access to computers and the internet are needed at the Community Centre or School

·    That Council support Housing NSW in promoting the technology centre at Cranebrook to public housing tenants in Kingswood Park

·    That Council investigate programs which may assist residents in acquiring computers and the internet at home for their children.

 

Based on examples from the City of Sydney, the Neighbourhood Renewal Team has worked toward structuring the information and priorities gathered from residents into the themes outlined above and which incorporate specific actions within the Kingswood Park Neighbourhood Action Plan provided at Attachment 3.

 

In December 2007 Council’s Community Engagement Officer participated in a Planning Session for the Kingswood Park Local Community Services Network. This group, including community and other Government Services, have developed a plan for the services and programs they will provide in the area in the next one to two years.

 

Actions to date

A number of actions identified within the Kingswood Park NAP have commenced implementation. Some actions, such as road resurfacing have been completed independently of the Kingswood Park NAP as part of existing works programs and schedules. Other actions, such as community consultation regarding playground development have occurred as a result of the Kingswood Park NAP.

 

Road resurfacing has recently been completed along Hillcrest Avenue, among other streets, which had been of specific concern to residents.

 

Following the success of the Parkour demonstration and workshop held in October 2007 as part of the engagement process, a Parkour + Krump (both urban dance forms) Summer Series of workshops were held during January 2008. These workshops were a partnership between Council, ICE (Information and Culture Exchange) and the Kingswood Park Primary School. The workshops held over two weeks were highly successful with two well known and respected artists Ali Kadham and Dario Phillips working as facilitators.

 

Dario Phillips working with young people in the Parkour + Krump Summer Series

 

The workshops had waiting lists with young people from the Kingswood Park locality given priority. The school was generous in its support for the project and was pleased to see students lining up to attend during school holidays. A short video presentation will accompany this report.

 

Following feedback from the community in Kingswood Park that the local community centre was not sufficiently promoted, a range of activities and events have been organised at the

Centre with the support of the Centre’s Management Committee. Most recently a Civic Launch/Neighbourhood BBQ was held to recognise the change of name to the North Penrith Community Centre (formerly Kingswood Park Community Centre). This launch was a collaborative effort between the Neighbourhood Facilities Team, Civic Events and the Community and Cultural Development Department.  The launch was well attended by the local community, with over one hundred participants. The Mayor, Councillor Greg Davies as well as Councillors Sheehy, Thain and McKeown were in attendance.  The Federal Member for Lindsay, Mr David Bradbury, also attended.

 

The launch of the North Penrith Community Centre provided a great opportunity for a family picnic

 

A new sign has now been installed at the front of the Centre following requests from the committee and landscaping work has also been completed. These are both actions that are identified within the NAP.

 

On Friday 23 May a consultation was held in the local park on the corner of Caloola and Illawong Avenue, to explore in further detail what local residents would like to see provided as part of the local park enhancement. The consultation was well attended by the local community who are excited by Council’s plan to provide play equipment in the area. This consultation will be discussed from page 9 in this report.

 

Following requests from residents for a notice board located at the local shops, correspondence has been forwarded to the managing agents for the Kingswood Park Marketown Centre. The request outlines that Council will pay for and install a notice board with a local shop keeper taking responsibility for keeping notices up to date. This will require further negotiation and an agreement regarding maintenance.

 

The Connecting Central Penrith Network, of which Council, Housing NSW and several community organisations are members, held two planning sessions in April 2008. The Neighbourhood Renewal Team presented an updated demographic profile and made presentations of our findings to the network. Through participation in this network several advocacy actions identified in the NAP will begin to be addressed.

 

Following endorsement from Council for the Neighbourhood Action Plan for Kingswood Park, a community newsletter will be distributed to all households. This newsletter will update residents on activities and actions to date as well as promoting Council services such as the graffiti hotline and the homework support service offered by Council’s library.

 

Dreaming up a Park in Kingswood Park

As discussed on page 6 of this report the theme of public spaces and parks was a major focus for residents in the community engagement process.  The importance of quality play equipment for children and families was emphasised on many occasions. At the community planning session (summarised on page 4 of this report) residents nominated the need for such a park as the top priority for Council actions in the locality. 

 

Consistent with many of the established areas across Penrith, Kingswood Park has a significant amount of open space and reserve land, but it does not have adequate playground equipment in centrally located open space locations. At present, the park on the corner of Caloola Ave and Illawong Ave and a park on Bel-Air Road have identical sets of steel frame swings.

 

The Penrith City Local Open Space Development Contribution Plan includes an allocation of $50,000 for the installation of playground equipment on Caloola Avenue in the 2008/2009 financial year.  This park included in the Plan is to the north of the primary school.  The engagement process in Kingswood Park has provided a base of evidence to respond to resident expectations and preferences for any future park enhancement.  This local engagement identifies the park on the corner of Caloola and Illawong Avenue as the preferred site for playground equipment and related enhancement.

 

This evidence has informed the design and implementation of a community consultation which was held on Friday the 23rd May 2008 in the local park on the corner of Caloola Ave and Illawong Ave opposite and east of the Kingswood Park Primary School and between the school and the local shopping centre. The purpose of this specific consultation was to identify the most common activities residents would like to engage in at the proposed park. This information will influence the design of the park, the location of park features, the selection of play equipment, seating and shade structures and finally, future place making activities.

 

Consultation Planning and Implementation

The consultation was planned according to Councils Community Participation Policy and Manual. A project proposal was written including a purpose statement, consideration of stakeholders, an invitation and promotion plan, an outline of methods, a budget, staffing considerations and an evaluation process plan.

 

David Capra, artist and facilitator and Council officers Kelly Watson and Cali Vandyk-Dunlevy prepare for the consultation activities

 

The methods chosen were designed to appeal to participants of different ages and to cater to a range of literacy and other abilities. Staff from Housing NSW (formerly the NSW Department of Housing) and the Primary School were also actively engaged in both conducting and participating in activities on the day.

 

The event was very popular. Children and parents from Kingswood Park Primary School filled the park within ten minutes of the final bell sounding at the School. A second wave of teenagers from local high schools and children from different primary schools arrived soon after.  

 

Approximately 120 people attended the event. This consisted of 30 parents and grandparents, 10 other adult residents, 5 teachers and school staff, and 70 children and young people from 0 to 20 years of age. These were predominantly primary school aged children. Five community workers, representing Housing NSW and local non-government services, also attended.

 


The park – full with neighbourhood kids

 

This high level of attendance and engagement in this process is attributed to the strength of relationships built throughout the engagement process in Kingswood Park. Throughout the previous 12 months Neighbourhood Renewal Staff have organised or been involved in an exciting stream of community and cultural events. This has generated energy, enthusiasm and an interest in the program on the part of local residents. It has also allowed Council officers to get to know residents, local families, local stories and community strengths. It is this knowledge which supports planning for such events and also ensures excellent attendance and participation. Residents have a high level of ‘buy in’ to the project, particularly concerning the local park enhancement.

 

To ensure the consultation was a success a BBQ was provided and fun and creative methods organised to support participant enjoyment. As part of the strategy the BBQ as always attracted additional attention to the event by residents who had not read promotional material and walked past or arrived home while the BBQ was happening. The BBQ is also a gesture of appreciation to the residents and families for their time and effort in coming along and getting involved in planning for the park.

 

The long line for the BBQ

 

A full outline of the consultation methods used in “Dreaming up our Park” are provided in Attachment 4 to this report.

 

Kingswood Park Primary School – 1/2T

Throughout the engagement process in Kingswood Park in 2007 a strong partnership has formed between Council and Kingswood Park Primary School. This partnership recognises the important role the local school plays in supporting local families with young children. In addition the school itself has undertaken a number of initiatives that support local community well being including a series of after school activities during the school term.

 

A project undertaken by the composite 1st and 2nd grade class 1/2T has created further synergy with the work of the Neighbourhood Renewal Program led park consultation.

 

As part of the curriculum 1/2T’s teacher, Sara Thomas, has led the class through an exploration of how the park could be improved if the class was given a million dollars. This exploration took the form of creating a DVD and a large map including the children’s drawings of all their imagined features in the neighbourhood park. This short DVD will be presented at the meeting.

 

The creative nature of this project has integrated well with the approach taken by the Neighbourhood Renewal Team in utilising cultural development techniques and methods which are suitable for a range of literacy levels. The DVD is also testament to the positive energy and aspirations of the children who live in the neighbourhood and attend the school.

 

Consideration is being given to naming the park, which is currently unnamed, 1/2T Park, to recognise the significant input that this class and the Kingswood Park Primary School have contributed to the development of the design for the equipment and the park layout. Class 1/2 T would become the custodians of the park and each year a small ceremony would take place with the primary school to pass this responsibility on to the new 1st class entrants. Further negotiations would be required with the school should this proposal go ahead. 

 

 

Local kids participate in creating a book of ideas for the park

 

What we learnt

The information gathered from adult and child participants at the park consultation will influence the planning, design and future activities in the park. 

 

Children participating in the consultation activities expressed some very concrete ideas regarding the types of activities they would like to be able to do at the park. For young children these included typical park activities such as swinging and sliding, but also some more interesting elements such as a climbing wall or a spider web for climbing. The most popular activities nominated by children and young people were swinging, sliding, climbing, running, playing sport, and riding bikes, scooters and skate boards.

 

An unexpected outcome was that children from 6 to 15 years of age nominated playing sports with friends at the park and riding their bikes as favoured activities. The importance of maintaining some space to run as well as interesting play equipment was emphasised.

 

Adult participants emphasised the importance of the park as a space for them to rest and spend time with other adults as well as their kids. Most adult residents who participated requested a rest area, including shade, seating and a table. The most popular activities nominated by adult residents were relaxing while children play, playing with the kids, just sitting and relaxing (with no kids), and exercising or playing themselves. Some residents requested adult size swings, equipment for exercise such as a sit up bench or a chin up bar. Many parents and grandparents also emphasised being able to interact and play with their kids whilst using the park equipment.

 

A predominant focus of adult participants was the safety of their children and grandchildren. They have made specific requests regarding safety such as lighting, fencing, more regular maintenance, the speed of traffic and areas for playing separate from an area to run and play sports. Concerns regarding maintenance were focused on safety. Residents are concerned about the amount of broken glass in the park and would like the design to include surfaces on which glass will be clearly visible. Residents are also concerned that some traffic will speed around the park and create a safety risk for children using the park.  Some residents suggested that part of the park be fenced.

 

Council officers were also surprised by the preferences residents expressed for the location of equipment. Many residents were of the view that play equipment should be installed toward the rear of the park so that children can still use the more open area for playing touch football and other games. Residents believe the equipment should be located toward the back or eastern end of the park under the shade of the trees along with seats and a table.

 

Council officers did not receive any negative feedback from residents at the park consultation. Many of the neighbours specifically walked over to the event to express support for the development of the park. One resident, who had previously worked for Council for a number of years, provided assistance when the BBQ provided by Housing NSW stopped working in the middle of the event. The resident took some of the Council officers and Housing NSW staff to retrieve his own BBQ and allowed the team to proceed using his equipment. This type of support speaks to the generous and warm nature of the surrounding neighbourhood. Residents, specifically those who live close to the site, support further enhancement of the site and ongoing community events of this nature.

 

Creating, moulding, and constructing new possibilities

 

Park Location

The park on the corner of Caloola Ave and Illawong Ave (Lot 323) has been identified as the preferred site for a playground during all of the consultation processes. This site is clearly visible from surrounding homes, is visible from two streets, can be observed from the Primary School and is currently, regularly used by children and young people. Young people use the park for casual recreation and touch football and children use the existing twin set of old steel swings and play games in the park. The Penrith Neighbourhood Renewal Team has held a number of events in the park in the past 12 months which have been well attended by residents living in the immediate area.

 

The consultation revealed some concerns by neighbours regarding the maintenance and safety of the site. These included an ongoing issue with broken glass, the need for improved lighting and quality fencing. If equipment is installed and safety concerns are not addressed these issues could become problematic in terms of resident and children’s safety and the level of community ownership of the park.

 

Comment was sought from the Environmental Planning Manager in relation to the matter that the local park identified for enhancement in the Penrith City Local Open Space Development Contributions Plan on Caloola Avenue is to the north of the school.  The community preference is for the enhancement to occur at the park on the corner of Caloola and Illawong Avenue, immediately to the east of the school.  An aerial photo of these locations is provided on the next page.

 

Map of Kingswood Park showing the location of the proposed park on the corner of Caloola Avenue and Illawong Avenue – beside the Kingswood Park Primary School

 

Comments from Environmental Planning Manager

Arising from the People’s Lifestyle Aspirations and Needs Study (PLANS), Council in 2007 adopted the Local Open Space Development Contributions Plan.  The Contributions Plan allocates $50,000 to provide playground equipment and park surface embelishment at Lot 498 Caloola Avenue, Kingswood Park in 2008/09.

 

Subsequent community consultations undertaken as part of the neighbourhood renewal community engagement process clearly indicates a community preference for the playground enhancement proposed under the Contributions Plan to be provided at the park (Lot 323) on the corner of Caloola Avenue and Illawong Avenue.

 

Given this local community consultation and that the proposed new site for the playground equipment is central, serves the same neighbourhood and catchment, it is reasonable to re-allocate the Section 94 funding to provide the playground on Lot 323.  The Section 94 Plan can be amended accordingly.

 

Next Steps in Developing a Park for Kingswood Park

Staff from the Design section in Council have commenced the development of a preliminary layout and design for the park on the corner of Caloola and Illawong Avenues. The location of the equipment is informed by the input from residents and other stakeholders. The form of the playground equipment and accompanying seating and fencing is to be determined. Further consultation with adjoining neighbours is likely to result in the refinement of some elements.

 

Once this process is complete and a Quantity Surveyor report is received with costings, a further report will be presented to Council.

 

Summary

The Penrith Neighbourhood Renewal Program is focussed on suburbs considered to be of relative disadvantage as measured through the ABS SEIFA Index.  The locality of Kingswood Park, located within North Penrith, is relatively disadvantaged and was selected as the first area to be targeted for the development of a Neighbourhood Action Plan (NAP).

 

Analysis of available data from the 2006 Census suggests that Kingswood Park has made some progress since the 2001 Census, however it is still clearly of higher relative disadvantage within the Penrith LGA.

 

The engagement process within Kingswood Park in 2007 utilised 8 methods, including surveys and qualitative methods such as the Kingswood Park Community Festival, Street barbecue, and a youth service provider forum.

 

A community planning session was the final of these methods and contributed to the refinement of resident priorities and concerns. This session supported the development of five themes within which the engagement process findings are grouped within this report.

 

The themes are Neighbourhood Strengths, Community Harmony and Safety, Public Spaces and Parks, Traffic and Transport, and Access to Services. These themes and their accompanying proposed actions are included in the Neighbourhood Action Plan.

 

Implementation of a number of these actions, including the design of a neighbourhood park with playground equipment has already commenced.  All actions listed in the NAP have been agreed to by the relevant Council Department as part of Council’s response to the implementation of the Kingswood Park NAP.  The implementation timeframe for the Kingswood Park NAP is four years.

 

The development of a Neighbourhood park on the corner of Caloola and Illawong Avenues with play equipment and seating was identified as an issue of high priority for the community of Kingswood Park.

 

In addition, community services involved in the local service network have been involved at every stage of engagement and have started to address some of the social issues raised throughout the engagement process

 

This report has provided a summary of the engagement process, the findings from the process and proposed priority actions in the Neighbourhood Action Plan for the locality of Kingswood Park.

 

 

RECOMMENDATION

That:

1.     The information contained in the report on The Kingswood Park Neighbourhood Action Plan 2008 be received.

2.     The Kingswood Park Neighbourhood Action Plan be endorsed.

3.     A community newsletter be distributed outlining activities and actions to date in the Kingswood Park locality.

4.     The Works Schedule in the Local Open Space Development Contributions Plan be amended so that Lot 498 on Caloola Avenue be replaced by Lot 323 on the corner of Caloola Avene and Illawong Avenue.

5.     A further report be prepared for Council outlining the design and costings of the installation of new playground equipment and development of a Neighbourhood Park at Lot 323 Caloola Avenue, Kingswood Park (the corner of Caloola Avenue and Illawong Avenue.

 

ATTACHMENTS/APPENDICES

1.  

Demographic Profile

7 Pages

Attachment

2.  

Overview of Community Engagement Activities

2 Pages

Attachment

3.  

Neighbourhood Action Plan

6 Pages

Attachment

4.  

"Dreaming up our Park" - Consultation Methods

4 Pages

Attachment

  


Policy Review Committee Meeting

7 July 2008

The City as a Social Place

 

 

The City as a Social Place

 

 

2

Neighbourhood Renewal Program - Priority Area Assessment Project    

 

Compiled by:                Jeni Pollard, Neighbourhood Renewal Program Coordinator

Authorised by:             Erich Weller, Acting Director - City Services   

Strategic Program Term Achievement: A program of renewal for selected neighbourhoods that contributes to a sense of community identity and cohesiveness is being implemented.

Critical Action: Implement agreed strategies for the delivery of facilities, services and infrastructure.

 

Presenter:                    Erich Weller  - Acting Director City Services  - Priority Area Assessment Project      

Purpose:

To inform Council of the outcomes of the Neighbourhood Renewal Priority Area Assessment Project.  The report recommends that Council endorse the outcomes of the Priority Area Assessment Project and the proposed schedule of activity to 2012.

 

Background

The Neighbourhood Renewal Program as a component of the Established Areas Strategy was funded through the AREAS Special Rate Initiative that commenced in July 2006. The proposal resulted from a growing recognition by Council that there was a need to address historical backlogs of infrastructure and services in some established areas of the City. These areas, particularly the ones that were developed prior to the availability of S94 funds, often lack the amenity and level of infrastructure of newer suburbs developed through a masterplanned approach and with access to S94 funds. 

 

The Neighbourhood Renewal Program identified 12 areas across the City that were considered to be of higher relative disadvantage compared to the NSW average and proposed the development of Neighbourhood Action Plans (NAP) for each of these areas. These areas are (in alphabetical order) Cambridge Park, Colyton, Cranebrook, Kingswood, Llandilo, Londonderry, North Penrith (including the locality of Kingswood Park), North St Marys, Oxley Park, Penrith suburb, St Marys and Werrington. There has been considerable work to date in Cranebrook, North St Marys, the Kingswood Park locality and Werrington/Cambridge Park.

An early opportunity to focus neighbourhood renewal resources in the locality of Kingswood Park arose due to work that was just being completed by the Connecting Penrith Project auspiced by the Werrington Community Project. This work identified that a number of partner organisations, such as the Department of Housing, Spyns and Barnardos were poised to undertake activities in the area to build community capacity. A decision was endorsed by the internal Established Areas Strategy Team to proceed with the development of a Neighbourhood Action Plan for this locality.

Neighbourhood Action Plans (NAPs) support a planned and coordinated approach to addressing the complex interplay of social disadvantage, access to economic and cultural participation, poor physical infrastructure, generally poorer public amenity and reduced civic engagement. The NAPs, developed through creative community engagement and robust discussion, focus on identifying community strengths and addressing the contributing factors to the social disadvantage by supporting the strengths within each community. The development of NAPs as well as the implementation of proposed actions is underpinned by strong partnership arrangements with both community organisations as well as other levels of government.

 

After Council endorsement of a NAP for a particular area, Council will receive regular updates on implementation through the quarterly Outcome Manager reporting system.  In addition the Neighbourhood Renewal Program service has the accountability through a strategic task to ensure the co-ordination and implementation of NAPs across the organisation.  The internal Established Areas Strategy team support this process.

 

It is expected that the timeframe for implementation of a NAP will be four years.  In some cases where a NAP identifies a major project this timeframe may need to be extended.  In addition support for social services programs may be required for longer than four years.

 

Council will have received a separate report on the preparation and implementation to date of the Neighbourhood Action Plan for the locality of Kingswood Park at this meeting. The NAP for Kingswood Park was developed in consultation with a number of key partners including the Department of Housing, Kingswood Park Primary School, Spyns, Werrington Community Project and ICE (Information and Cultural Exchange).

 

To identify the best use of Council resources and to assist informed decision making on the roll out of Neighbourhood Renewal activities across the 12 identified areas, a Priority Area Assessment and Monitoring Project was undertaken. This Project, discussed in more detail in this report, provides an analysis of each of the proposed areas and provides Council with detailed statistical information. This analysis will assist Council in endorsing a planned 4+ year roll out program for the Neighbourhood Renewal Program.

 

Current Status of Neighbourhood Renewal

Prior to the dedicated resourcing provided by the special rate initiative, the Neighbourhood Renewal Program had commenced, with varying levels of activity, in Cranebrook, North St Marys and Werrington/Cambridge Park. These areas are all benefiting from the work done to date in each of these locations.  A summary of recent initiatives in these areas is provided below.

Cranebrook

In Cranebrook Neighbourhood Renewal activity is largely supported and coordinated in partnership with the Neighbourhood Advisory Board.

 

Officers from the Neighbourhood Renewal Program continue to work with community partners and other levels of government to support a range of micro-project activities in Cranebrook and coordinate the participation of other Council departments. A recent example of this type of activity was the launch of the Smoke Free Playgrounds policy in Cranebrook, a project led in partnership with the Environmental Health Department. This launch was a well attended community event that raised awareness of the issues as well as providing benefit to the local community.

 

The Cranebrook Drumming Workshop has just been completed after 10 weeks of activity. This project, funded by the Magnetic Places Community Cultural Grants Program, has engaged a range of residents, many isolated by mental illness, in drumming and drum making. Participants in the program have expressed that this creative project has provided a positive opportunity to break down social isolation and assisted them to build networks within the community. A report on the pilot 2007/08 Magnetic Places Community Cultural Grants Program will be presented to Council early in the next quarter.

 

In December 2002 Council adopted a proposal to extend Tamara Children’s Centre located in Hosking Street, Cranebrook.  The upgrade would provide an additional 15 places for children aged 0-3 years, increasing the capacity of the centre to 56 places.   Data at this time showed that there was an unmet demand for places for children aged 0-3 years in this community.  

 

The newly extended centre was officially opened in April 2008.   The main benefit to the community from this initiative is increased availability of centre-based long day care places for families with a child aged 0-3 years.  This is particularly attractive to families who receive child care benefit (CCB) and meet the work/study/training test - both (for two parent families) or the one (for sole parent families) parent/s must be working, studying, training or looking for work.    

 

Residents of Cranebrook enjoy a weekend drum making workshop

 

A substantial consultation process has been undertaken to date regarding the location and development of a skatepark in Cranebrook. Once a preferred site was selected a further consultation was held on-site to exhibit the plans and gain further input on the design. This project will be delivered in 2008/09.

 

Werrington/Cambridge Park

In Werrington and Cambridge Park additional resources have gone into physical infrastructure improvements as a result of requests made during the public consultation process in 2005. This work continues and is complemented by activities undertaken by Neighbourhood Renewal staff in coordinating Council participation in local events such as the Werrington Festival. Council staff have also worked with the Werrington Community Project in this area to support local community events.

 

A successful Magnetic Places event was recently held in Werrington with Flamenco dancer, Anna Louise Paul working with Master Tabla player, Bobby Singh to demonstrate the fusion of the two performance art forms. The purpose of this project was to provide an opportunity for residents to participate and provide input into a performance piece being developed by the artists. It is expected this piece will be performed at the JSPAC later this year.

 

Master Tabla player Bobby Singh performs with Flamenco Dancer, Anna Louise Paul
 at the Arthur Neave Hall, Werrington

During the last 12 months, the Werrington Youth Centre has had a number of issues regarding the management of the auspice of the youth activities program funded by the NSW Department of Community Services. Council officers have provided considerable support to the project to dissolve the management structure and assist in the transfer to another community project with strong management expertise.

 

North St Marys

 

North St Marys has had considerable resources injected into the development of the new community facility including additional landscaping, heat management strategies and new playground equipment and shade structure. Council and North St Marys Neighbourhood Centre Inc. were successful in obtaining additional funds from the Regional Partnership Program and a number of registered clubs through the CDSE process to fund these enhancements.

 

In addition to this, there has been strong partnerships developed with the St Marys North Primary School to support and enhance the existing literacy programs provided at the school.

 

The revitalisation of Parklawn Place Shopping Centre is a challenge for Council and partners in this area. A retail analysis of the shopping centre is currently being undertaken and outcomes from that analysis will be presented to Council in the second quarter of 2008/09.  The retail analysis will assess the catchment of the centre, identify the potential floorspace demand, and a sustainable retail/service mix.

 

A Magnetic Places event was held in North St Marys during May with around 70 people from a diverse range of cultures and backgrounds coming together for the ‘Talking Tree’ project. This event was auspiced by the North St Marys Neighbourhood Centre in partnership with local artists Greg Simms and Vicki Thom. The Mayor, Councillor Greg Davies launched this exciting project in May 2008.

 

Other Micro-Project Activities

Whilst the current focus has been working with the community in the locality of Kingswood Park to develop the Neighbourhood Action Plan, a number of micro-project activities in other localities have been initiated or supported during this time. This approach will continue, ensuring a broad spread of Neighbourhood Renewal activity across a number of the 12 locations at any one time. 

 

Following the success of the summer series of workshops in Parkour and Krump held in Kingswood Park, the Australia Council for the Arts have approached Council to develop a partnership program to further develop these workshops. This partnership proposal, if successful, will include Kingswood Park and Oxley Park Primary Schools in a cultural development program that supports the development of creative communities and promotes opportunities for building harmony and creative exchange between the two diverse communities.

 

In order to build cultural development capacity and implement high quality cultural development activities in Neighbourhood Renewal areas, there has been a need to develop capacity in the local cultural sector. To achieve this, the Cultural Development Officer – Local has been actively engaging with local artists in shaping an effective local artist network. An Artist + Community Toolkit series has commenced to provide training and skills to local artists, community and youth workers in community cultural development theory and practice.

Participants in the first Artist + Community Toolkit workshop engaging in small group exercises

Over time, this approach will assist in building the local creative industry and provide more locally based employment opportunities for artists and arts practitioners. A flyer promoting the Artist + Community Toolkit workshop series is provided at Attachment 1.

 

The Priority Area Assessment and Monitoring Project

The Neighbourhood Renewal Program is a planned approach to redressing disadvantage in identified areas. This planned approach is supported by the work undertaken by Elton Consulting to develop a framework for Neighbourhood Renewal that is based on sustainable outcomes, involves significant engagement with local communities and is driven and supported by both Council and its partners. 

 

To assist this approach a project brief was developed to undertake a data and research analysis on selected areas for the Neighbourhood Renewal Program that incorporated 2006 Census data as well as a range of data from other available sources.

 

The Priority Area Assessment Project was undertaken by WESTIR a non-profit community organisation partly funded by the NSW Department of Community Services, to provide enhanced and equitable access to statistical data and information for community organisations and local government. The consultancy included a number of component project elements that are interrelated.

 

The first element was to establish a relative baseline of statistics and other information for each of the 12 areas under consideration for inclusion in the Neighbourhood Renewal Program.

 

Other baseline information included in the study was recording through photography, the visual amenity of the areas. This exercise was undertaken to provide the before element of a pictorial ‘before and after’ record of each renewal area. These will inform development of initial ‘character statements’ about each area as well as providing a base to assess change and development in each of the areas over the next five, ten years and beyond.

 

The overall aim of this data collection [both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’] was to enable a better information base for selection of the Neighbourhood Renewal areas and to inform priority issues and community engagement for future Neighbourhood Renewal Program action plans.

 

Data and information was collected according to the selection criteria already established by Council, that is:

 

·    Poor access to key services and resources;

·    SEIFA Data – relatively low scores on Index of Relative Disadvantage;

·    Crime and personal safety issues;

·    Limited local training opportunities to support further employment opportunities;

·    Poorer health Indicators;

·    Limited local employment and enterprise opportunities;

·    Poor Physical environment and Public Domain;

·    Lower levels of car ownership and poor access to public transport;

·    Indicators of social capital;

·    Negative perceptions of the area - from both internal and external sources..

 

Other Considerations

Other local issues for consideration in the planning for future Neighbourhood Renewal activities are:

 

·    The need to balance resources to rural communities. In an LGA that is approximately 82% rural, it is an important consideration to address a balance of rural and urban projects. Disadvantage can be less evident in rural or remote communities where there is perhaps a higher tolerance of poor service provision.

 

·    The imperative to add value to the opportunities that other funding from State and Federal governments brings to an area. At the time of commencing in the Kingswood Park locality, the area was towards the end of a 3 year WSAAS funded project. This project had built relationships with local residents but had not been able to break through on a number of key issues. The injection of Neighbourhood Renewal activities into the Kingswood Park area has capitalised on relationships developed and was able to bring new focus and energy to resolving some of these key issues in a more coordinated approach.

 

·    Different areas will take varying times to build relationships in the community. The experience in Kingswood Park is that from engagement to developing the draft NAP took approximately 8 months. Some areas will take more time depending on the existing relationships and level of capacity in the community to engage in activities and events.

 

Findings of the Priority Area Assessment and Monitoring Project

A number of critical issues are identified and demonstrated through the work undertaken by WESTIR. A summary of the findings of the Priority Area Assessment and Monitoring Project is in Attachment 2. Key points from the findings are:

 

·    Cranebrook, Kingswood, North Penrith, North St Marys, Penrith suburb, St Marys and Werrington all have a higher than LGA average of residents in public housing (either Department of Housing or other social housing providers).

 

·    All areas except Cranebrook, North Penrith and Penrith suburb have a higher than LGA average of residents considered to be in housing stress. The highest was Londonderry with over a quarter of residents considered to be in housing stress.

 

·    All of the areas, with the exception of Londonderry have a higher than LGA average of residents from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background. The LGA average is 2.4% with areas such as North St Marys (5.9%) and North Penrith (4.5%) having significantly higher percentage of residents identifying as of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander backgrounds.

 

·    All of the areas, with the exception of Cambridge Park, Londonderry and Cranebrook have a higher than LGA average percentage of overseas born residents with low English proficiency.   

 

·    All areas have a generally poorer than LGA average level of educational attainment. An exception is Kingswood with a higher percentage of residents with Year 12 education or degree qualification but this anomaly is likely to be the result of medical staff renting accommodation close to the hospital and university students renting accommodation in the area.

 

·    All of the areas, with the exception of Londonderry, Llandilo and Penrith suburb have higher than LGA average of single parent families. The LGA average is 15% with some areas, North St Marys (23.7%) and Oxley Park (23%) having considerably higher averages. Single parent families are more likely to experience barriers to accessing services and to be in housing stress due to lower household income levels.

 

·    Domestic violence and break and enter of a dwelling are typically higher than the LGA average in all areas with exceptions being Cranebrook (domestic violence) Londonderry (domestic violence and break & enter), North Penrith (domestic violence) Penrith suburb (domestic violence and break and enter). This is in some instances contrary to information from service providers and the community. The low levels of reports for crimes such as domestic violence may be attributable to a higher level of tolerance within some communities.

 

The analysis of the Priority Areas Assessment data indicates that rather than any one particular area or locality being more ‘urgent’, each area has a particular set of priorities and that other factors such as opportunities for funding and availability of partners will also influence planning for Neighbourhood Renewal activities.

 

The ongoing development and support for micro-projects in a number of areas whilst one major ‘Neighbourhood Renewal’ process is underway is an effective way to raise the profile of Council in these communities and address multiple priorities across the Local Government Area.

 

The Way Forward - A Flexible Approach

In developing a way forward for the Neighbourhood Renewal Program over the next 4+ years it is important to adopt a flexible approach, with capacity to respond to emerging issues, funding opportunities or opportunities for collaboration with key partner agencies. This is coupled with the need to be realistic about the capacity of the program to undertake the development of one Neighbourhood Action Plan (NAP) at a time in conjunction with a number of micro-project activities in other areas.

 

The experience in Kingswood Park has reinforced the need for a high level of engagement in those areas where residents may have experienced barriers in the past and thus have not been actively engaged in civic opportunities or activities.  To achieve the required community engagement to develop an effective NAP will take varying lengths of time in different areas.  Once again, the role of partners in both engaging and assisting in implementing NAPs will be critical. Major shifts in policy or strategy from partner organisations may require alignment changes that would need to be considered.

 

Importantly, Council’s other departments will continue to provide their services to each of these 12 identified areas.  Local community, environmental and cultural groups will have access to programs such as the Magnetic Places Community Cultural Grants Program and the Community Assistance Program.  As staff have engaged with residents across these locations, a database of resident contacts is being built. Both the Q theatre and Penrith Regional Gallery use these contacts to promote upcoming events and to provide opportunities for these residents to access performances or exhibitions at low or no cost. 

 

Taking into account data and information from the priority area assessment and monitoring project and the need for flexibility, Table 1 below proposes a way forward for rolling the program out across the life of the next Council’s Strategic program.

 

Table 1 – Schedule of Activity

 

Management Plan Year

Area / Locality

Pre-current Management Plan

Cranebrook
North St
Marys
Cambridge Park/Werrington

2007/08

Kingswood Park (North Penrith)

2008/09

Londonderry
Oxley Park

2009/10

Kingswood
St
Marys

2010/11

Llandilo
Penrith

2011/12

Colyton

 

The proposed schedule is based on experience in working in Kingswood Park. The time frames are informed by our understanding of the time taken to build effective and meaningful relationships within communities and given the current resource allocation to the Neighbourhood Renewal Program.

 

The suggested implementation strategy takes into account a number of considerations raised within the Priority Area Assessment Project. The rationale for choosing Londonderry and Oxley Park in the next year includes:

 

·    Council currently has plans to redevelop the Londonderry Neighbourhood Centre. This redevelopment will assist in building a community focus and provide a point of engagement. There is a current submission to WSAAS for a Northern Rural Areas Community Development Officer to build capacity in the northern rural areas of the City. The development of a NAP in Londonderry will bring focus and add value to this project assuming it is funded. If the WSAAS project is not funded this year, the work undertaken by the Neighbourhood Renewal program will strengthen any further submissions made in relation to this project. 

 

·    As previously stated, residents in rural communities often have reduced access to services, including Council services. The development of a Neighbourhood Action Plan for Londonderry will assist in raising the profile of Council services in this area.

 

·    Over the past 12 months, the Neighbourhood Renewal Team has had several opportunities to work on micro-project activities in the Oxley Park area. The Oxley Park Primary School has been an active partner in projects. The school is currently working with community partners to develop a “Schools as Community Hubs” project.

 

·    Oxley Park will be one of the two identified areas (Kingswood Park being the other) for the submission to the Australia Council for a Community Partnerships Grant. This will strengthen opportunities for engagement with a diverse range of residents in this area.

 

As indicated on page-5 of this report the Neighbourhood Renewal Program will, while focusing on a particular locality or area, continue to support and deliver micro-project activities in other established areas. Thus a flexible approach is suggested as the most effective way forward to delivering effective Neighbourhood Renewal programs over the next 4 + years.

 

Summary

The Neighbourhood Renewal Program identified 12 areas across the City that were considered to be of higher relative disadvantage compared to the NSW average and proposed the development of Neighbourhood Action Plans (NAP) for each of these areas. These areas are (in alphabetical order) Cambridge Park, Colyton, Cranebrook, Kingswood, Llandilo, Londonderry, North Penrith (including the locality of Kingswood Park), North St Marys, Oxley Park, Penrith suburb, St Marys and Werrington. There has been considerable work to date in Cranebrook, North St Marys, the Kingswood Park locality and Werrington/Cambridge Park.

 

The Neighbourhood Renewal Program has been active across a number of areas and localities in the Penrith LGA over the last 18 months. The program has considerably revitalised community activity and civic engagement in the Kingswood Park locality since commencing activities in the area. Further improvements to the physical amenity in the area beyond existing day to day service delivery by Council, are ongoing and assisting to build community confidence and capacity.

 

The level of engagement in the Kingswood Park locality has been resource intensive as well as supporting other micro-project activities and Magnetic Places events and programs across the LGA. The work has been rewarding and innovative, with the community and partners providing much positive feedback on the activities and events to date.

 

A planned approach, with capacity to direct resources in a flexible way to emerging opportunities is required to ensure that each area is provided with an opportunity to effectively engage and participate in the development of sustainable Neighbourhood Action Plans.

 

With this in mind, this report outlines a strategy that has a proposed roll out of the remaining areas over the next four years, coupled with capacity to support micro-projects including those developed with the assistance of CAP and Magnetic Places funding.

 

 

 

 

 

RECOMMENDATION

That:

1.     The information contained in the report on Neighbourhood Renewal Program - Priority Area Assessment Project be received.

2.     Council endorse the outcomes of the priority area assessment project and the proposed schedule of activity to 2012 as outlined in this report.

 

ATTACHMENTS/APPENDICES

1.  

Artist+Community Toolkit Series Flyer

2 Pages

Attachment

2.  

Priority Area Assessment Summary Document

6 Pages

Attachment

   


 

 

 

 

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The City In Its Environment

 

 

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The City as an Economy

 

 

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The City Supported by Infrastructure

 

 

There were no reports under this Master Program when the Business Paper was compiled


 

 

 

 

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Leadership and Organisation

 

Item                                                                                                                                       Page

 

3        Preparations for the 2009+ Strategic Plan

 

4        State Review of Taxes

 

 



Policy Review Committee Meeting

7 July 2008

Leadership and Organisation

 

 

Leadership and Organisation

 

 

3

Preparations for the 2009+ Strategic Plan   

 

Compiled by:                Shari Hussein, Strategic Planning Coordinator

Authorised by:             Ross Kingsley, Corporate Development Manager   

Strategic Program Term Achievement: A commonly shared long-term vision for the City underpins strategic collaboration and community engagement.

Critical Action: Prepare, implement and review Strategic Plans and processes.

     

Purpose:

To advise Council of preparations for Council's next Strategic Plan for the City. The report recommends that the information be received and that preparations continue in the terms discussed.

 

Background

Council, at its Policy Review Committee Meeting of 10 December 2007, endorsed a report that gave a preliminary overview of the preparations for a new Strategic Plan and associated community engagement approaches.  These preparations are now well advanced and are discussed in detail in this report.

Introduction

Council’s Strategic Plan is the principal policy document guiding its leadership of the City and the program that Council has formulated for its term of office. The Plan defines Council’s vision for the City, identifies the major issues that Council chooses to address, sets longer term goals and four-year term achievements for the City around those issues and determines the ways it intends to respond. Council’s current Strategic Plan: “Penrith City: the Competitive Edge” covers the period 2005-09.

 

Since 1988 it has been the practice for the newly elected Council to fashion a Strategic Plan for the City of Penrith which sets out its long term ambitions and priorities for the City.  One great benefit of this approach to strategy development is the continuity that it brings.  It is one which allows each Council to express its own ambitions for the City in a context of appreciating earlier and continuing aspirations for what Penrith might become.  It also lays in its turn a platform for following Councils to build on.

 

Derived from the Strategic Plan is a more specific document, the Council’s Strategic Program (or 4-year delivery program), which in more detail specifies what the Council will do over its four year term to take the City forward consistent with the Strategic Plan.  The Strategic Program also becomes the framework for annual increments of Management Plan tasks, projects and services.  The diagram below expresses this in outline.


 

Diagram 1 Strategic and Management Plan Approach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Developing the 2009+ Strategic Plan

This year is a significant one for the future direction of both the City and the Council.  Coinciding with the commencement of the new Council is the authoring of a new Strategic Plan and an essential setting for that is to understand the views of our community and stakeholders about those future directions.  A new Strategic Plan and Strategic Program, or delivery program to implement the Strategy in the period 2009-2013, will be formulated with the Council to be elected in September.  Preparations for Council’s 2009+ Strategic Plan are well underway and key elements of the development program are outlined below.

 

The 2009+ Strategic Plan will, like its predecessor, have an unlimited horizon in its view of a future for the City.  It will, of course, carry forward much of that long term view which has been captured by previous Councils. The Strategic Plan document is designed to encapsulate a long term vision for the both the organisation and the City.  For this reason the development of the Strategic Plan has promoted the timeframe 2009+ without an end date.

 

It is important though to recognise the changes that have occurred to the City since the last Plan was made.  There have been changes to the City’s context and to the social, economic and environmental context at large.  It is important in this light to ensure that our considerations of the future are taken from a contemporary standpoint and with a fresh perspective, avoiding the trap of accepting conventional wisdom as fact.  Changes which are presently occurring and most importantly those which will impact on the City in coming years must be taken into account.

 

Work has also begun on a more integrated planning and reporting model for our future Strategic and Management Plans, shaped by the essential factors noted below.

Setting the Strategic Direction

Successive Strategic Plans have demonstrated enduring elements.  These include attaching value to the City’s distinctive rural and urban qualities, seeking to benefit from the changing social and economic character of Penrith, exploiting the new ideas and energies that comes from this expanding City and preserving its identity and distinct character.  A constant theme has been one of seeing Penrith is not consumed by the growing metropolitan area but stands as a distinguished place.

 

The current Strategic Plan is titled: “Penrith City: the Competitive Edge”.  This reflects our commitment to positioning Council and the City as a desirable place to live, work and play in the context of Western Sydney.  The context has served us well in preparing our annual management plan to attract jobs and employment to the City, foster partnerships and to deliver services to our community.

 

In 2003, Council adopted the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Principles to help shape and guide Council’s commitment to a more sustainable City. In 2007, a new framework based on these Principles and local objectives was established for the Management Plan. Sustainability Indicators for the City and Council were also adopted and expressed in the Annual Report and on a special website.

 

Together, this framework is referred to as Penrith’s Principles for a Sustainable City. It is being used as the starting point for identification and prioritisation of key issues and challenges for the 2009+ Strategic Plan. The appropriate reflection of Penrith’s Regional City role and status in the next Strategic Plan is also benefitting from this context.

Key Elements of the 2009+ Strategic Plan Preparations

The program for the 2009+ Strategic Plan seeks to maintain the strengths of the established strategic planning approach as well as to ‘lift the bar’ in a range of requirements (including stakeholder engagement and the integration of both Sustainability principles and Services).  This is a major exercise for the organisation, involving contributions from all of management and will include the opportunity for greater community and staff engagement than in the past.

 

While there is presently no statutory requirement for Councils to have a Strategic Plan, or to consult the community on such a plan, Council has previously resolved to conduct broad public consultation on its Draft Strategic Plan.  It is important for the draft Strategic Plan to be adopted before the end of 2008, in order to allow its exhibition as early as appropriate in the new year.

 

It is intended to adopt the final Plan and Strategic Program in March/April 2009. The 2009-2010 Management Plan will be based on the new Strategy settings and priorities.

 

In summary the key steps of Strategic Plan preparation are indicated in the table below.

 

Table 1. Outline Timetable for 2009+ Strategic Plan and Program development

Date

Milestone or Requirement

March 2008

·    Strategic Program Review (to December 2007)

·    Cross-Organisational team of key Managers formed to identify key issues, consultation and research

April 2008

·    Review of Term Achievements (undertaken by Managers and Cluster Teams) to determine relevance for 2009+ Strategic Plan

May 2008

·    Community Strategic Survey undertaken by IRIS Research

June 2008

·    Services Planning project commenced

·    Appointment of consultants (Eltons) for facilitation of Futures Forum and Council Retreat

July 2008

·    Report progress to Policy Review Committee and confirm approach and timetable

·    Appointment of consultant for confidential interviews with Councillors

·    Penrith City Futures Forum (16 July)

·    Commence consultation program with staff, community, City and Regional partners, State and Federal government

·    Staff Engagement (Survey in July 2008)

August 2008

·    Councillor Interviews with Consultant

·    Compilation of research & preparations for Discussion Paper

13 September

·    Council Elections

October 2008

·    New Councillors - Interviews with Consultant

·    Strategic Planning – part of Councillor Orientation

·    Key research packages to Council

·    Discussion Paper to Council

November 2008

·    Preparation of Draft 2009+ Strategic Plan during Strategic Plan Councillor Workshop (7-9 November)

·    Draft Strategic Plan completed and confirmed

December 2008

·    Adopt Draft Strategic Plan for exhibition

·    Strategic Program development commences

February 2009

 

·    Exhibit Draft Plan

·    Develop Strategic Program

March/April 2009

 

·    Adopt Strategic Plan and Program

·    Draft 2009-10 Management Plan reflects new Plan directions

July 2009

·    2009+ Strategic Plan commences

Community Engagement

Currently there is neither a statutory obligation to consult nor a prescribed methodology on how to consult in relation the preparation of a Strategic Plan.  Instead, Council’s adopted Community Participation Policy and accompanying Manual sets out the basic techniques for undertaking community participation and provides guidelines on how to approach the engagement processes for key projects (including developing a new Strategic Plan).  The Manual sets out ways to “inform, consult, involve, collaborate and delegate” in relation to project components that are consistent with international best practice.  The table below show the methods suggested in the Manual when developing a Strategic Plan and compares that with the proposed methods of community engagement for 2009+ Strategic Plan.

 

In relation to the Council’s Strategic Planning processes there are two main phases: the development of a draft Plan and the implementation of a new adopted Plan.  The development of the new Strategic Plan for 2009+ will be undertaken primarily during this year and implementation of the new plan will commence in July 2009.  This report provides detailed information about the engagement processes intended for the 2009+ Strategic Plan. Further reports will be provided to Council at appropriate points as the program proceeds.

 

Table 2. Community Engagement for Strategic Plan and requirements of Council’s                       Community Participation Manual

Consultation Matrix

Consultation Methods

Comments

Inform

Consult

Involve

ü -  Essential

l -  For Consideration

Letter of Notification

Advertise-ment

Media

Public

Exhibition

/Display

Signs

On-site

Website

Councillor Notification/ Council Report

Individual Contact

Survey

Newsletter

Interest Groups

Public Agencies

Public Meeting

Governance

Required:

Strategic Plans

 

ü

l

ü

 

 

ü

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proposed:

Draft 2009+ Strategic Plan

 

ü

ü

ü
(incl. Open Day)

 

ü

ü

 

ü

ü

ü

ü

 

 

Also:

1.  On-line forums & surveys

 

2. Phone information line & email

 

Community and City Partners Engagement

As previously discussed with Council, in preparing the 2009+ Strategic plan there will be wider engagement of our communities in addition to key stakeholders, City partners and the organisation itself in an ongoing dialogue or ‘conversation’.  Elements of the ‘conversation’ to be conducted will include:

·    building on Penrith’s Regional City status;

·    the sustainability framework and outcomes to be pursued for the City;

·    the future direction and delivery of Council’s services to the community.

 

While clearly Council itself can only achieve within its own resources, we have been moving into a leadership focus by engaging partners across the spectrum of the City.  This involves working with other major agencies and organisations in the City and beyond to support their efforts to secure outcomes with which we agree and which reinforces our own Strategic Program elements.

 

Council has strong established relationships with businesses, government agencies, community groups, and individuals at all levels.  By working together we have used a collaborative approach to achieve positive outcomes for the City and thereby implement the goals in the current Strategic Plan.  It is logical to build on those strengths by inviting our City partners to assist us in developing our new plan for the City and ultimately implementing the 2009+ Strategic Plan. Clearly, the success of Council’s Strategy for the City will entail not only a shared vision but effective contributions from many partners.

 

As reported in December, in addition to our existing engagement techniques, two additional measures were proposed.  An annual City forum was suggested as one way of providing a cohesive and coordinated approach to achieving best value for both Council and the community.  Details of the proposed response through the Penrith City Futures Forum are discussed further below.

 

The other suggestion was to investigate a residents’ panel (with participants from different wards and backgrounds) to provide feedback about the implementation of the Strategic Plan.  The formation of such a panel will be considered and further discussed with Council early in 2009 as part of the Strategic Plan implementation stage.

 

An extra dimension is being added to Council’s engagement and consultation toolkit by the more extensive use of online technologies, including the recent ‘Bang theTable’ trial and the provision of online surveys for both the community and staff. These technologies are being further explored through appropriate aspects of the suggested program.

Penrith City Futures Forum

As notified to Councillors by memorandum, the Penrith City Futures Forum will be held on the morning of Wednesday 16 July at the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre (JSPAC).  Within the overall context of planning the future of the City, the forum will involve presentations by distinguished speakers on the broad themes of Health & Well Being and Climate Change and workshops with a wide range of our City partners.

 

Expert facilitation will be provided by Brian Elton and Associates, who facilitated Council’s previous Strategic Plan retreat and have also been engaged for a similar role this year. This will help ensure a continuity of understanding and attention to the key issues which emerge in these discussions.

 

Following the forum there will be further opportunities for City partners to remain involved and informed about the development of 2009+ Strategic Plan including a City partner’s reference groups, Council’s website and other ways such as surveys and online forums.

Interviews With Councillors

Another important dimension of the Strategic Plan preparations has been the process of providing a confidential interview with each Councillor by an independent consultant.  The aim of the interviews is to discuss Councillors’ views on key issues affecting the City and the delivery of the existing Strategic Plan.

 

This step has now been carried out and judged to be most valuable in several Strategic Plan preparations. Subject to Council’s endorsement tonight, interviews by a suitably qualified consultant will be arranged. This will be carried out with all Councillors prior to the election and a similar arrangement will be made for new Councillors.

 

As in previous years, the summary report produced from the interviews will be provided to Councillors and management with no identification of the source of any comments. This information will form part of the background material prepared for the Strategic Plan. The support of Councillors in contributing their knowledge and experience in this way means that a very significant advance can be made in the identification of key issues for the Strategic Plan.

Staff Engagement

Council’s well-established strategic planning approach has been distinguished by an effective partnership with senior management in the development of the Plan and Program. Through the last Strategic Plan process (in 2004-05), Council significantly increased the involvement of Managers and some other key staff in regard to future visioning and program development.

 

The next and logical evolution of Council’s empowerment of the organisation to contribute to its Strategy and to take ownership of the implementation is now being pursued.. Opportunities for staff engagement are being expanded in the current phase and this will be carried through to the planning and delivery of the more detailed 4-year program.

 

A notable initiative is the formation of a cross-organisational team of Managers to help steer the development of key issues, research and engagement and the framework for the 2009+ Strategic Plan and its implementation. This group, initiated by the Director ~ City Strategy, is based on the ‘Cluster Team’ arrangements. It includes approximately half the Managers and is central to the approach being taken.

 

Opportunities for all staff and teams to participate and contribute to strategic planning and delivery are being assessed and established. Clearly, this needs to be part of an overall commitment to strengthening staff engagement and communication.

 

A project team has reported to management on measures which can be used to enhance staff participation in the Strategic Plan process. There will be additional information and communication through means such as newsletters, the website and Intranet, a staff ‘supplement’ to the community strategic survey which has been, online forums and also opportunities for face-to-face consultation.  These are being developed in conjunction with the steering group of Managers.

 

A crucial element of staff engagement is the contribution and ownership of teams in planning and delivering Council’s Services. The particular strategic Services Planning exercise now being undertaken (outlined below) has been developed with this clearly in mind.

Researching the City’s Needs

To enable an effective address of emerging and future issues for the City, it is essential that a well-founded body of factual evidence on the present nature and circumstances of the City,  our community and its broader context is available to Council and the organisation.  Significant research conducted by both Council itself and leading external bodies is being utilised to provide such a base.  The quality and objectivity of this research data has been a key area for attention in the Strategic Plan process.

 

Research informing Council of the ‘State of Penrith City’ and ‘State of the Organisation’ in its context will be provided.  This shared body of knowledge freshly in the view of Council and officers will allow a more future-focussed perspective in the Strategic Plan process.  It is intended to also make key elements of this material available to the community to consider along with the draft Plan.

 

It will of course remain the case that the Strategic Plan to be developed by Council will draw on two critical information bases, namely:

 

·    the research, experience and professional insights of its senior staff (drawn on for the production of a series of background papers), and

 

·    the insight and understanding of the local community that the Councillors bring with them to the table.

 

Key elements of the research program are further commented on below.

1.   Term Achievement Relevance Review

Whilst the development of a Strategic Plan looks to the future, it is also important to consider the current context. In this regard, an initial review has been undertaken of the future relevance of the current Term Achievements.  This involves an examination of the existing challenges as well as existing services and projects Council and its partners have undertaken.  This information forms part of the research to support Council’s deliberations and will be distilled into the planning for future services (discussed below) and then presented as a dimension of the Council Discussion Paper.

2.   Community Strategic Survey

As Council was previously advised, a key element of the research and community engagement consists of a City-wide community survey. The survey has been carried out by IRIS Research, who also conducted the 2003, 2005 and 2007 Customer Surveys for Council. The methodology was the same as in those previous surveys, being a random telephone survey of 600 respondents distributed equally across the three Wards and proportionately across the new, older and rural areas of the City.

 

The broad aim of the survey is to help elicit resident aspirations and perceptions of both the City and local neighbourhoods. It also directly supports the investigation and reporting of key trends identified by the sustainability indicators for the City which Council has adopted.

 

The previous survey of this type conducted by Council was as part of the PLANS Study in 2002. Many of the topics in that survey are also incorporated in the present exercise, which again will assist in identifying trends and any significant changes in community views.

 

The survey results are presently being analysed and will be presented to the next Policy Review Committee meeting. The emphasis will be placed on key findings which may most inform the Strategic Plan process.

3.   Planning for Future Services

The Services Planning exercise, which was foreshadowed in the previous Council report as one of the key enhancements to our approach, has now commenced. Apart from its direct importance to both the Strategic Plan and Program, this is seen as a central element of increasing the engagement of and ownership by staff in the new Strategy and its delivery.

 

All Managers have been requested to involve their Service teams in a ‘SWOT’ analysis of Council’s present Services as against anticipated future needs. This work is being supported and assessed by an expert consultant. General research on the services environment for local government is also being conducted to set an overall context for the report to be produced.

 

The development of the ‘strategic’ issues for the 2009+ Strategic Plan, will for the first time occur in parallel to a thorough Services (and therefore Resources) Planning.   This will ensure that the incoming Council is given an appropriate information base to understand the ‘Services dimension’ of the strategy and program it develops together with management.

 

There will of course be many points of convergence between these two streams of analysis.  Drawing the Service directions and strategic issues together in terms of City needs and Council priorities will be the challenge. The exercise will be conducted from the expert perspective of Managers and their teams.  Staff will also have a direct opportunity to raise issues and respond to similar questions through a separate consultation process.

The Council Discussion Paper

As in the past, a Discussion Paper is being prepared for Council through the research and engagement process which is informed by and draws together as a prompt for ideas and policy positions all of the elements discussed above.

 

Key inputs include:

 

·    the perspectives of Councillors, both experienced and newly-elected;

 

·    professional assessment of the issues by management and key staff through a series of exercises and teams established to assess and compile pertinent research;

 

·    identification of issues by representatives of Council’s key City partners, through the forum to be held in July, and through other consultations;

 

·    a well-founded body of factual research drawn/commissioned from various sources.

 

The Discussion Paper provided to Council for the Strategic Plan Retreat will represent the distillation of the key findings of the overall program to that point.

Council’s Strategic Plan Workshop

As had been done in the development of the last three Strategic Plans, a weekend retreat and workshop for Council is scheduled in order to provide the opportunity for an informed consideration and response to the issues presented in the Discussion Paper and decisions by Council on the content of and directions to be taken in the Plan. This retreat involved a series of facilitated workshops for Councillors supported by senior management. 

 

This formal Strategic Plan Workshop will be held on 7-9 November 2008.  Further details on the venue and arrangements for the Workshop will be provided to Councillors by memo shortly.

Post-Workshop Plan Development

Following the November Council workshop, the next phase is to refine and complete a Draft Strategic Plan through further intensive work by Council and management, including:

 

1.   Briefings and presentations on the directions from the Workshop;

 

2.   Management reviewing the identified issues, goals and guiding commentary from the Workshop as well as identifying suggested outcomes for the draft Strategic Plan to reflect these directions;

 

3.   Consideration by Councillors and Management of the more detailed suggested draft of each theme of the Strategic Plan;

 

4.   A facilitated workshop with Council in late November/early December to review the full draft of the strategic content to determine any amendments;

 

5.   Further refinement by the Directors of the working draft Strategic Plan based on specific directions from the Council workshop, as well as on the general directive to clarify and standardise content.

 

As noted above, it would then be intended for the draft Strategic Plan to be reported to Council for adoption to enable its public exhibition in early 2009.

Conclusion

The present Strategic Plan for 2005-2009, Penrith City: the Competitive Edge, has provided strong leadership to the City and direction to the organisation and is recognised in local government as a leading example of long-term planning. The strengths of that Plan will be retained and built upon.

 

From this foundation, the 2009+ Strategic Plan can take Council and the organisation to the next level of achievement with regard to the leadership of the City and the services provided to its community.

 

The Plan to be formulated by the new Council will be anchored by the internationally-recognised sustainability principles which Council has adopted and mainstreamed in its planning and operations. It will be informed by a comprehensive research base developed from the program described above and will also be shaped and strengthened to a greater degree by extensive community, partner and staff engagement and ownership.

 

 

RECOMMENDATION

That:

1.     The information contained in the report on Preparations for the 2009+ Strategic Plan be received.

2.     Preparations for the 2009+ Strategic Plan continue as detailed in the report.

 

ATTACHMENTS/APPENDICES

There are no attachments for this report.


Policy Review Committee Meeting

7 July 2008

Leadership and Organisation

 

 

Leadership and Organisation

 

 

4

State Review of Taxes   

 

Compiled by:                Barry Ryan, Waste and Community Protection Manager

Vicki O’Kelly, Financial Services Manager

Andrew Moore, Financial Accountant

Authorised by:             Barry Ryan, Waste and Community Protection Manager

Vicki O’Kelly, Financial Services Manager   

Strategic Program Term Achievement: The organisation is managing its statutory requirements and the needs of a participatory community in a transparent and balanced way.

Critical Action: Develop, review and monitor policies and procedures to enable the organisation to engage more effectively with the community while meeting its statutory and public interest obligations.

     

Purpose:

To inform Council of the review of State taxation undertaken by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART).  The report recommends that a submission be made to both IPART and the Local Government & Shires Associations in respect of the review of taxation.

 

Background

The Premier of NSW has referred the following matters to the Independent Pricing & Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) and requested the Tribunal to draft a report to the Treasurer on the findings of the investigation and provide recommendations.

 

·    Given the existing GST agreement, assess the impact of the current system of Commonwealth-State fiscal relations on NSW revenue mix and the ability of NSW to fund essential public services;

·    Compare the efficiency of the taxes available to NSW and the Commonwealth;

·    Review the existing NSW tax system according to standard taxation principles (that is, efficiency, equity, simplicity and transparency) as well as the interstate competitiveness of NSW taxes;

·    Recommend options to improve the efficiency, equity, interstate competitiveness, simplicity and transparency of NSW tax system, given the taxes available to it.

 

IPART approached this review by first looking broadly at the NSW tax system, and comparing it to those of the other States and the Commonwealth.  Then, to help determine the scope for reform, it examined the constraints on NSW taxation and tax reform.  Next, it undertook a detailed assessment of the major NSW taxes, taking into account:

 

·    standard taxation principles, which include efficiency, equity, simplicity and transparency;

·    robustness, which is the tax system’s ability to consistently raise sufficient revenue to fund essential public services; and

·    Interstate competitiveness.

 

Finally, based on the findings of the above analyses, IPART identified a range of improvements to the design and mix of State taxes that it believes NSW can make independently of the Commonwealth and other States.  It also identified some broad options for improving the NSW tax system through cooperative Federalism, which the Tribunal considered that the NSW Government should pursue through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).

 

IPART’s draft recommendations for improving the NSW tax system independently of the Commonwealth and other States include short, medium and longer term actions.

 

Current Situation

The draft report contains a number of recommendations, two of these recommendations directly impact Local Government.  The first proposes changes to the current funding arrangement for the NSW Fire Brigade and the second relates to changes to the current Payroll tax regime.  Both of these proposed changes are discussed below.

 

Funding for NSW Fire Brigades

In undertaking the review, IPART focused on a broad number of issues, including payroll, gambling, property, insurance and motor vehicle taxes.  The review also included the Fire Services levy, which funds the NSW Fire Brigades (NSW FB) and the NSW Rural Fire Services (NSW RFS).

 

Funding for the NSW FB and NSW RFS is determined each year by the Minister for Emergency Services in consultation with the Treasurer.  Funding is provided through statutory contributions by the insurance industry (the largest contributor), local councils, and through the State’s Consolidated Firefighting Fund.

 

The insurance industry contribution (the ‘fire services levy’) is determined by the market shares of insurance companies issuing policies for fire, industrial-specific risks, contractors, home and vehicle insurances.  The fire services levy, as it is described on insurance policies, is not a NSW Government tax but a surcharge that general insurers impose on their customers to recoup the cost of their contribution to the fire services.  Insurance companies determine if and how they will recover their contributions – in most if not all cases, this is through a levy on policy holders based on their insurance premiums.

 

Local Government’s contribution to the NSW FB is based on the value of rateable land within the particular LGA as a percentage of the overall value of land in the Sydney Firefighting District.  This percentage is then used to assess the proportion of funding each council is required to contribute to the NSW FB.  In 2008-09, Council’s Budgeted Contribution to the NSW FB is $1,066,140.

 

Local Government’s contribution to the NSW RFS is based on 13.3% of the annual funding provided by the NSW RFS.  In 2008-09, Councils’ Budgeted Contribution to the NSW RFS is $274,750.

 

The Local Government Association of NSW has advocated a property valuation based levy model, to replace the existing fire services levies on local government and the fire services levy on the insurance industry.  Queensland and South Australia operate a property-based levy to fund fire services.  Western Australia has replaced its former fire services levy with a new levy that varies by property type and by region, and is collected by local government authorities.

 

In NSW, the issue of replacing the fire services funding contributions with a property-based levy was considered in a public inquiry conducted by the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (PAC) in 2004.  This inquiry found that, while there were benefits in replacing the current system with a levy on property in the residential sector, there were many small and large businesses that might be worse off under a property levy.  The PAC considered that it was not prudent to introduce a new, administratively complex system for the residential sector alone and therefore recommended against a move to a property levy at that time.  The NSW Government accepted this finding of the inquiry.

 

IPART considers that the fire services levy could be replaced by a corresponding increase in the current contribution from local government.  Local government would, in turn, increase rates to recover the cost.  IPART proposes a phased introduction with appropriate increases in the rate cap to accommodate the shift in funding arrangements.  Effectively, this would increase the contribution from all property owners via local government rates.  It would achieve the benefits identified by the PAC, without the need to introduce a new tax.  In addition to its administrative simplicity, this approach enhances both economic efficiency (by greater use of the comparatively efficient municipal tax base) and equity (by reducing the free-rider feature of the current predominantly insurance-based system).

 

IPART has recommended that, in the short term, the statutory contributions by insurance companies to fund fire services should be replaced by a corresponding increase in the contributions by local councils, with a phased implementation and accommodating increases in the municipal rate cap.

 

The Local Government & Shires Associations have issued a media release with extracts below.

 

Currently, ratepayers contribute just 12-13% through their annual rate notices, with the remainder coming from the State Government and insurance policy holders.

 

“This is taxation by stealth”, President of the Local Government Association, Cr Genia McCaffery said.

 

“The Associations have been arguing for some time that the Fire Service Levy should be separately billed so that the ratepayers know exactly what they are paying for.  The cost should also be distributed between all NSW residents.

 

“But IPART has recommended not only slapping ratepayers with 86% of the burden – an extra $600 million per year in rate revenue, but hiding it in the annual rate notices sent out by councils.

 

“Ratepayers will naturally assume councils have instigated the increase, yet none of the extra money can be used to fund local infrastructure backlogs or for local services.”

 

Concern is raised as to the proposed method of funding the fire services.  Firstly, councils will be required to collect funding on behalf of the NSW Government, whilst having very limited ability to control costs or ensure that there is an adequate level of service being provided.  Secondly, the recommendation is based on an assumption that the costs attributed to the running of the fire services are directly related to properties.

 

A considerable number of incidents that the fire services are required to respond to are motor vehicle related accidents and rescues.  The fire services are State Government emergency services and as such should be funded by the State Government as are the NSW Police and Ambulance services.

 

Payroll Tax

Payroll tax is a tax levied by the New South Wales Government.  It is the State’s largest tax and one of its most efficient.  The current regime sees only 9% of NSW businesses liable for payroll tax.  The tax free threshold for businesses in NSW is $600,000 and on top of this a number of specific exemptions exist including one for Local Government.  For those businesses captured by payroll tax the rate of tax levied is 6% of their payroll.

 

The IPART review explores a range of options to reform the payroll tax regime including reducing both the rate of tax and threshold.  The report recommends that the threshold be reduced from $600,000 to $500,000 and the rate from 6% to 5.75% and in the longer term the Government should consider further reducing the rate.  While IPART acknowledge that these reforms, which broaden the tax base, will result in increased compliance costs it is asserted that they will improve economic efficiency by increasing NSW’s competitive neutrality.  IPART estimate that the impact of this change to the payroll tax system will be a reduction in tax collected of $59m.

 

All three of Council’s controlled entities are subject to payroll tax.  In 2006-07, these entities paid $117,000 in payroll tax.  This recommendation would increase that to $130,000 in payroll tax be paid by these entities.

 

In addition to these reforms the report explores the current exemptions provided for payroll tax.  It estimates that in 2007-2008 $863 million in revenue will be forgone as a result in the major exemptions provided.  As mentioned, Local Government is exempt from payroll tax.  Other exemptions in NSW include public hospitals and area health services, schools and colleges, charitable institutions, apprentices and trainees and maternity leave payments.  IPART argue that the removal of these exemptions would create a more level playing field and help signal the true relative costs of the goods and services that these exempt organisations provide.  It is important to note the abovementioned organisations primarily provide social goods and services that would not be equitably provided if left to the free market.  The report recommends that only the exemption for Local Government be removed.

 

The removal of the exemption to Local Government would provide additional revenue to the State of $180 million per annum.  IPART argue that councils should be compensated for the new expense through an increase to the rate peg of approximately 6%, phased in over a two year period.  It is interesting to note that the only exemption that is proposed to be lifted effectively “shifts’” the blame for an increased tax burden on the residents of NSW from the State Government to councils.

 

IPART argue that the current exemption of local councils from payroll tax is hard to justify.  It acknowledges that the removal of this exemption would lead to pressure to increase council rates to fund the additional tax liability, and that this might be perceived as a ‘zero sum’ game. Unlike in the example of the State Government departments or instrumentalities they believe that there may be efficiency gains and they asserted that levelling the playing field between Council and other providers of the services we provide justifies the removal of the exemption.  They argue that the removal of the exemption would increase the importance of Council rates and, most notable, they identify that it would broaden the tax base and therefore taxation income of the State Government.

 

If this recommendation is implemented and the exemption for Local Government is removed, the additional cost to Penrith City Council for this tax would be $2.75 million per annum. While it is recognised that the new cost would need to be matched by a rate increase, there is no guarantee that increased costs in this area will be matched by future increases to the rate peg.  Therefore, as evidenced by recent rate peg increases which have failed to keep pace with wages growth over time, a further erosion of Local Government’s capacity to deliver existing services is likely.

Conclusion

A review of State Taxation has been conducted by IPART.  The draft report contains two recommendations that directly impact Local Government.  In both cases it is proposed that Local Government be given permission to increase rates to recover the additional impost.  If implemented the residents of Penrith City Council will see significant increases in their rates which would need to be managed by Council however income would be passed directly through to next level of government.  The impact of these two recommendations would result in an average increase of approximately $166.60 per annum for each ratepayer.

 

It is proposed that a submission opposing the recommendation be lodged with IPART.  Council Officers have had discussion with our surrounding councils and can confirm that Blacktown and Campbelltown are preparing submissions that oppose the recommendations.  WSROC have indicated that they intend to provide a generally consistent submission from a regional perspective and the LGSA are providing a submission and have confirmed they are not necessarily against the NSW Fire Service levy being a property based charge issued by councils, however they will be opposing the removal of the exemption for payroll tax.

 

 

RECOMMENDATION

That:

1.     The information contained in the report on State Review of Taxes be received.

2.     A submission be made to both the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal and the Local Government & Shires Associations opposing the reforms to the NSW Fire Services Levy and to Payroll Tax exemptions, as outlined in this report.

 

ATTACHMENTS/APPENDICES

There are no attachments for this report.  



 

ATTACHMENTS   

 

 

Date of Meeting:          Monday 7 July 2008

Master Program:          The City as a Social Place

Issue:                            Established Neighbourhoods

Report Title:                The Kingswood Park Neighbourhood Action Plan 2008

Attachments:                Demographic Profile

                                      Overview of Community Engagement Activities

                                      Neighbourhood Action Plan

                                      "Dreaming up our Park" - Consultation Methods



Policy Review Committee Meeting

7 July 2008

Attachment 1 - Demographic Profile

 

 

 







 


Policy Review Committee Meeting

7 July 2008

Attachment 2 - Overview of Community Engagement Activities

 

 

 


 


Policy Review Committee Meeting

7 July 2008

Attachment 3 - Neighbourhood Action Plan

 

 

 






 


Policy Review Committee Meeting

7 July 2008

Attachment 4 - "Dreaming up our Park" - Consultation Methods

 

 

 




 



 

ATTACHMENTS   

 

 

Date of Meeting:          Monday 7 July 2008

Master Program:          The City as a Social Place

Issue:                            Established Neighbourhoods

Report Title:                Neighbourhood Renewal Program - Priority Area Assessment Project

Attachments:                Artist+Community Toolkit Series Flyer

                                      Priority Area Assessment Summary Document



Policy Review Committee Meeting

7 July 2008

Attachment 1 - Artist+Community Toolkit Series Flyer

 

 

 


 


Policy Review Committee Meeting

7 July 2008

Attachment 2 - Priority Area Assessment Summary Document