South-west councils compared on new performance website

A SOUTH-WEST mayor says a new website that compares finances and performance across councils is nothing to be afraid of.

“We’re not frightened of the roll-out of this system,” Corangamite Shire mayor Chris O’Connor said yesterday.

“It will be a handy tool for some councillors to have confidence they’re heading in the right direction.

“I guess it can also put scrutiny on councils and can be enlightening for ratepayers.”

The My Council website was announced yesterday by Local Government Minister Tim Bull.

“This is the first standardised system of performance reporting for local government in any state or territory in Australia and puts Victoria at the forefront of local government transparency,” Mr Bull said.

“It will also assist councils to compare their performance and hopefully lead to the sharing of information and best practice.

“People will be able to use the My Council-style website to see how their council compares with other similar councils, how their rates are being spent and whether they are getting value for money, which will in turn help drive improvements across the local government sector,” Mr Bull said.

Corangamite Shire put its hand up to be involved in a 12-month trial of the new performance-reporting framework.

“We thought we’d take a proactive view so we could give feedback to make sure it was worthwhile,” Cr O’Connor said.

“There’s a whole regime of reporting involved with it and we’ve found it is not too bad. They say it will cut out some red tape and there will be similar reporting and benchmarking across councils.”

Cr O’Connor said he always found it valuable to use benchmarking when he was involved in the dairy industry as a farmer.

“At the end of the day as long as the information is used properly and in a constructive way it will be a good thing.”

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