Roads are the biggest issue in the south-west, new research has revealed.
The condition and maintenance of council-owned roads returned the lowest scores across the region in the 2019 local government community satisfaction survey.
The state-wide survey, run by the state government, saw a minimum of 400 interviews undertaken within each municipality.
Survey respondents were asked to rate council performance on a five-point scale.
Residents across Moyne Shire, Glenelg Shire, Southern Grampians Shire and Corangamite Shire rated roads the lowest.
Warrnambool City Council will not publish its results until July 15, over five weeks later than other south-west councils, as it has not yet briefed council.
So just how happy are south-west residents with their councils?
Moyne Shire performance lifts in latest survey
The good bits:
Moyne Shire residents rated their council's overall performance 60 out of a possible 100, three points up from last year.
Customer service fared the best, with a score of 67 beating last year's by two points.
For community consultation and engagement Moyne matched last year's score at 57, and fared an equal 55 for both advocacy and its ability to make community decisions.
The top three best-scoring individual services were emergency and disaster management at 72, elderly support services at 72 and recreational facilities at 69.
The bad bits:
Moyne's maintenance of roads fared the worst according to the community, who rated the council a dismal 35 out of a possible 100 for unsealed roads and 39 for sealed roads.
The condition of sealed local roads returned just 39 points.
Local streets and footpaths were the third-lowest at 54.
The council received just 54 points for its overall direction.
The survey results are based on input from 400 Moyne residents.
Cr Jill Parker commended the council for overall improvement, but pointed out differences in satisfaction between Port Fairy and Mortlake.
"There's quite significant differences," Cr Parker said.
Cr Jordan Lockett said results for unsealed roads were disappointing but not unexpected.
"No one is happy with unsealed roads, I think it's a bit of an Australian thing hammering governments and I think some of that feedback would come no matter what we did, it's a bit of a thing," Cr Lockett said.
Corangamite Shire outperforms large rural shire average
The good bits:
Corangamite Shire returned an overall performance score of 69 out of a possible 100, up three points on the same time last year.
Community consultation and engagement received a 68, up four points on last year and for advocacy on behalf of the community a 64, matching last year's score.
Its ability to make good community decisions was given a 65, up one point on last year.
Emergency disaster management was the highest rated measure overall with an index score of 81 up six points from 2018 and a positive reflection of council's recovery efforts following the St Patrick's Day fires in March 2018, a council spokesman said.
Appearance of public areas dropped slightly but remained high at 78, recreational facilities got a score of 75 and elderly support services dropped incrementally but received 73.
18 per cent of all respondents said customer service was the best aspect of council.
The bad bits:
Council's maintenance of roads returned the worst scores, with unsealed roads receiving just 40 out of 100, and the sealing of local roads rating 44.
Overall direction of the council received a 57 out of 100.
The lowest-scoring services was roadside slashing and weed control at 46 points (up one point), planning and building permits at 59 (up one point) and the condition of local streets and paths stayed the same as last year on 62 points.
36 per cent of respondents said sealed roads maintenance was the worst aspect of council.
"It's quite clear that we have some of the worst roads in the state, some roads managed by VicRoads are sinking in places and cars are bottoming out," Cr Simon Illingworth said.
"The roads around Port Campbell are atrocious and are getting worse.
"I think there is some pause for patting ourselves on the back, but clearly people in the south-west are somewhat more disappointed in other areas."
The cost of this year's survey was $14,490. A total of 401 interviews were completed in Corangamite in the period February 1 to March 30.
In general, 65-plus year olds rated Corangamite highest on the range of performance measures.
Mayor Neil Trotter said the survey results identified the best performing areas of council and areas for improvement.
"This is a very important document when it comes to planning Council services and priorities," Cr Trotter said.
"I'd like to thank the 401 residents from across the shire who took part in interviews during February and March 2019.
"Their feedback gives us concrete data about what matters most to the people we represent, where we are succeeding and where we need to improve."
Southern Grampians lowest performance in south-west
Southern Grampians Shire Council received the lowest overall performance score in the south-west at 53, a one-point improvement on its 2018 result.
It's significantly lower than the average rating for councils state-wide (60) and councils in the large rural group (56).
The good bits:
Southern Grampians received 70 for customer service, up five points on last year.
Its highest-performing individual services were consultation and engagement at 57 and lobbying at 51.
35 per cent of Southern Grampians residents rated council's overall performance as 'good' or 'very good'.
Nine per cent of respondents said recreational and sporting facilities were the best things about council, as well as its community engagement and involvement (nine per cent).
The bad bits:
The area most in need of attention is sealed local roads, which only returned a score of 41.
Council's performance on making community decisions also rated poorly at 49.
22 per cent of residents rated the council's performance as 'poor' or 'very poor'.
A further 43 per cent sat mid-scale, rating council's overall performance as 'average'.
Residents also indicated they prefer service cuts (52 per cent) over a rates rise (31 per cent).
Glenelg Shire a state leader in customer service
Glenelg Shire residents handed their council an overall performance score of 59 out of 100.
For overall direction, the council received a 59.
Glenelg would not disclose their full report as they had not briefed council, but revealed its highest performing individual services were community consultation at 59, customer service at 74 and making community decisions a 57.
Reflecting the wider feeling in the south-west, sealed local roads received a low score of 41.
"The sealed local roads as the lowest is not surprising, we can often attribute this to confusion among residents as to which roads are local and which are state-owned," a spokeswoman said.
Mayor Cr Anita Rank said the results were a reflection of council's commitment to delivering quality services to the community.
"The survey has indicated that residents are both confident and satisfied with council's performance, particularly in the area of customer service which, for the third year in a row, was the highest scoring performance area," she said.
"This positions our council amongst the best in the state in the customer service field, an outstanding outcome which is testament to our hardworking and diligent staff."
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