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The city of Wanneroo continues to be one of the largest and fastest growing local government authorities in WA. The rapid growth rate has a significant impact on the City’s finances and resources. It is vital to plan for the future through long-term planning and robust asset management practices. Processes should be in place to ensure the timely maintenance and upgrades of current assets and construction of new facilities for the fast-growing population.
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The City continues to illustrate a positive financial performance by managing the debt, controlling the expense and managing to keep the rates increase to a minimum. The City has an operating surplus result that increased with 37% over the past three years. Due to the decline in State and Federal grants, the City has to seek alternative income sources to continue to be financially viable. The City has an estimated replacement cost of $2.6 billion for depreciable assets.
The City of Wanneroo (COW) Council is providing services to one of the largest and fastest growing local governments in Western Australia, with Perth’s next major Strategic Metropolitan Centre at Yanchep currently being developed. The City has a population of 199,882 (Australian Bureau of Statistics and 2018 Forecast ID) with an average annual increase of more than 6% in population growth has occurred over the past decade. The population growth is expected to increase by 95% in 2041.
The Council consists of 15 elected members including the Mayor and a workforce of 766 full-time equivalent (FTE).
The City’s core function is to deliver a range of services to its customers, the residents within the City of Wanneroo across three wards and 36 suburbs. The majority of these services are provided through physical assets such as community buildings, facilities, roads, footpaths and open spaces.
Source: City of Wanneroo Annual Report 2017/18
The City’s vision: ‘Inspired by our past, working to create a vibrant, progressive City, providing opportunity and investment to enable our growing communities to prosper’ and values: ‘Customer focussed, Improvement, Accountability, Collaboration and Respect’ were revised during 2016/17 as part of the major review of the Strategic Community Plan (Strategic Direction).
Council has set key community outcomes and Council strategies to achieve the vision. Delivering service excellence (Customer focused) is a major focus for the Council and part of the values and community outcomes. A customer-focused approach is when a business developed their marketing plan with the main focus being the customer outcomes, described by Kotler et al. 2013, p. 36.
The City’s economic growth for the future includes nine new major activity centres and an industrial area. One of the most significant community outcomes, apart from the development and activation of major activity centres and the Neerabup industrial area, is to create distinctive places based on each area’s identity through area based planning. Hill et al. 2018, p. 38 describes this approach as geographic segmentation when a market is divided into various geographical entities.
This report is divided into four main sections:
- Internal Company Analysis;
- Micro Environment Analysis;
- Macro Environment Analysis;
- Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats Analysis
The City’s long and short term strategic direction is set out in the Strategic Community Plan and aligned to the vision. Detail can be found in the appendixes.
The key focus for the next ten years is to invest in its rapid growing community through the delivery of infrastructure, programs and services to create more vibrant, progressive, connected, active and inclusive communities.
The key levels and components of the City’s strategic direction are driven by the Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework that are depicted below:
The City has a total asset value of $2.7 billion as at June 2018 of which 86% are infrastructure assets, 13% land and 1% IT and plant & equipment. It is expected that the asset portfolio will grow to $3.5 billion by 2028.
A positive operating surplus result is evident in the City’s Long Term Financial Plan and the Audited Financial Statements 2017/18. This is due to the City’s high own source operating revenue that covers the overall expenses. An increase of 35% on the operating surplus result has occurred in the last three years.
The following image illustrates the City’s workforce profile (766 FTE) performance over the past two years:
Australasian Local Government Performance Excellence Benchmarking Program
The City tests its market on a biennial basis and the last results of the community satisfaction/perception survey highlighted 6 key focus areas which are being addressed through the strategic planning process to ensure improvement in these areas:
- Playgrounds, parks and reserves
- Safety and security
- Traffic management
- Footpaths and cycleways
- Management and control of traffic on local roads
- Sport and recreation facilities
The City’s key customers and stakeholders are grouped in the list below:
- Residents, ratepayers
- Investors and local businesses
- Interest groups
- Federal and state government agencies
- Local business associations
- Industry associations
- Local and regional government agencies
Kotler et al. 2013, p. 116 describes the micro environment as the internal forces that affect the business ability to serve its customers.
Key external sources of change impacting the sector can be analysed through Porter’s five forces of change framework. It is a micro-tool, mainly used to analyse the competitive environment of a company in its industry. Although local governments are non-competitive, there are some of Porter’s forces that impact the City and its micro environment.
Source: Porter’s five forces
The power of customers
- Given the estimated future growth of the City’s population, it is vital that the City invests in its community’s expectations (needs and wants).
- Investors – there is a level of competition between local businesses and if the City does not serve their needs they will invest elsewhere.
The power of suppliers
- Federal and State grant funding impact the delivery of services dramatically. The City has secured major grant funding to further invest in rail and road projects within the major growth area in the Northern suburbs.
- A decline in grant funding occurred in 2017/18 and the City has to investigate alternative ways of delivering services and drive best practice through benchmarking.
- The tender and quotation process for local governments, limit Councils to select suppliers from the Western Australia Local Government Association (WALGA) preferred suppliers list.
- There is some competition among local governments when applying for grants as an alternative source of revenue.
- Local governments also compete internally within the workforce. Staff retention is critical and attractive job offers will lead to internal movements between local governments and higher staff turnover rates.
Kotler et al. 2013, p. 119 describes macro environment as the external forces affecting the business.
The below image summarise the City’s characteristics and its most important resource, its people.
1.4.1. Key drivers of population growth and change:
The expansion of the northern and north-western suburbs is a major contribution to the rapid population growth factor.
The fact that the City of Joondalup has reached its capacity in new residential opportunities has shift to Wanneroo being the prime focus area for residential development in the northern suburbs of Perth.
1.4.2. PESTEL Analysis
Key external sources of change impacting the organisation are analysed through PESTEL. It is a macro-tool that influences the organisation in the global environment.
- The political uncertainty world wide plays a huge role in the financial markets and unemployment rates.
- Federal, State and Local elections can impact the City and the strategic direction as well as all households financially.
- One of the Labour government election promise included the Yanchep rail extension project. This is a 14.5km project that helps to support ongoing growth in the northern suburbs as well as reducing road congestion.
- The Australian economy grew by 2.8% as at September 2018 up from 2.4% in 2017. The economic growth has averaged 2.6% over the last ten years.
- The unemployment rate in WA currently stands at 6.5% and is higher than the national average of 5.4%. City of Wanneroo unemployment rate of 8.06% is higher than national and WA.
- Australian house market slowed down and house prices fell during 2018.
- WA is the worst performer of all States in the economic performance rankings due to the weakest result on retail spending, decline in construction and lower wage growth.
- The City’s proportion of households is higher in the medium to high income category when comparing with the WA average.
- The total residents of 199,882 have a female to male ratio of 51/49 with a median age of 33 years.
- Wanneroo has more younger workers (15-44 years) as to older workers (45 and over).
- 41% are born overseas and 20% speaks languages other than English that is higher than the WA median.
- Disposal income is lower for Wanneroo households compared to the WA median.
- Federal and State Government grants are available for local governments that apply for Smart Projects aligned to Smart Cities Australia concept.
- The City was successful in Federal grant funding in 2018 for the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program for the Yellagonga Wetlands and Rail Smart projects.
- WA state government has released a new Waste reduction strategy with KPIs and targets set for 2030.
- Energy and water reduction measures are monitored and reported throughout the year.
The SWOT analysis is divided into four segments aligned to the City’s strategic themes: Environment, Social, Economy and Civic Leadership.
- The City has built good stakeholder relationships and partnerships over the last three years.
- The City has a strong asset portfolio of $2.7 billion and 85% of the assets are either new or in very good condition and only 1% requires intervention due to age.
- The City has invested massively on new infrastructure over the past three years which is visible in the large Capital Works Program.
- The City values its community and therefore engages with the residents and business owners on various different levels. The community satisfaction is visible in the perception survey results that showed an increase in their already high satisfaction rate.
- The City has a wide range of community events and programs.
- Resources – Workforce needs to increase to ensure to keep up with the increasing demand of service delivery. Financial sustainability to ensure demand is met.
- Due to the population growth, there is a shortage of community facilities and major traffic congestion.
- Slow infrastructure development that is not keeping up with the growth.
- Crime has increased mainly also due to population growth.
- The City needs to invest in more technology to keep up with the Fourth Wave (Industry 4) such as data analytics.
- Council is not investing enough on their current employees and can be seen on the low spent on training per FTE.
- Not a wide range of economic industries.
- The City’s natural bushlands and scenic views such as the ocean is a great opportunity for the City to invest in their tourism industry that will also provide job creation and diversity in the City’s industry sectors.
- The development of distinctive places will bring the opportunity for a wider range of housing.
- The rapid residential growth provides various opportunities and a possible increase in new local businesses investing in the City can be expected.
- The City needs to do more around the issues of water scarcity and waste that affects climate change.
- Council is under pressure with the growing demand of infrastructure due to the rapid growth in population.
- Elections causes a thread to the City as a new council might change the direction and affects the targets set to deliver specific projects.
- Investing in transport infrastructure will address the traffic congestion issue and reduce travel time to work.
- Federal and state funding to ensure infrastructure and economic development are meeting the increasing population growth.
- Collaborate with key stakeholders in public and private sectors to achieve high economic growth results.
- Transformational leadership that draws the support from stakeholders and the community.
- Agile and competent workforce to deliver satisfactory services and to meet the needs and wants of the community.
In conclusion, the City is facing many challenges in the near future. The rapid growth rate has a significant impact on the City’s finances and resources. It is vital to plan for the future through long-term planning and robust asset management practices to ensure the timely maintenance and upgrades of current assets and construction of new facilities for the fast-growing population. Effective strategic and business planning processes and systems should be in place to ensure financial sustainability and community satisfaction.
Finally, it is critical to have a transformational leader to guide the City and its community through this exciting new era of economic change for the City.
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