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News from the Chamber – February 2023

News from the Chamber

An update from the most recent Council Meeting that took place on 21 February 2023.

More information is available at 2023 Council Meeting Agendas and Minutes.

 Planning Activity Update and Delegate Decisions and Planning Scheme Amendment Update 

 This report provided Council with an update on:

  • The status of Planning Permit Applications in December 2022 and January 2023
  • Decisions made under delegated authority in December 2022 and January 2023 regarding planning permit applications
  • The status of current Planning Scheme Amendments over the same period

In December 2022 Council made 94 planning determinations, 15 subdivision determinations, and 67 new planning permit applications were received. The value of development for these 67 applications is $68.4 million.

In January 2023 Council made 73 planning determinations and 11 subdivision determinations under delegated authority, 36 new planning permit applications were received. The value of development for these 36 applications is $10.4 million.

During the December 2022 / January 2023 period, there was progress on three Planning Scheme Amendments. The report identifies that there are currently seven Planning Scheme Amendments where Council is the Planning Authority or has requested the Minister to prepare an amendment under section 20 (4) of the Planning and Environment Act.

Planning Compliance Activity Report  

This report showed:

  • Council’s Planning Compliance Unit received 105 new requests for service between 1 October and 31 December 2022.
  • The number of requests received was significantly lower than the previous quarter when 147 requests were received.
  • 133 requests were resolved by Officers during the quarter.
  • The most common requests received related to contravention of planning permit conditions, which accounted for 25 per cent of the total requests.
  • Use of land without a planning permit (18 per cent) and signage (16 per cent) were the next most common requests received
  • Council issued 38 Planning Infringement Notices during this period. These related to:
    • Failure to comply with planning permit conditions
    • Use of the land without a valid planning permit
    • Dumping of fill and destruction of native vegetation
    • Erection and display of real estate signage in breach of the Planning Scheme.

Sunshine Marketing & Business Development Special Rate 

The renewal of the Sunshine Town Centre Marketing and Business Development Special Rate will provide continued funding to support events, promotions and business development initiatives to help keep Sunshine vibrant and flourishing.

Brimbank Council resolved to declare the special rate for a further five years at its Council Meeting on 21 February 2023.

The Special Rate was first introduced in 2013 and has made possible promotions like the Shop Local campaigns, Christmas activities and events such as the Lunar New Year Festival.

The current Special Rate finishes on 30 June 2023.The Sunshine Business Association (SBA) requested that it be renewed for a further five years, so the fund could continue to support Sunshine’s businesses, encourage commerce and deliver events and activities in the Sunshine Town Centre.

The Special Rate, paid by commercial rate payers within a defined area of the Sunshine Town Centre, will raise about $180,000 in the first year, and increase 2% annually over the five years. These funds are provided to the SBA who use it to pay for a marketing coordinator, promotional, advertising, and marketing and business development. Council is required to monitor and approve how the funds are spent by the SBA to ensure it is in line with the purpose for which the Special Rate was declared.

The Special Rate has been increased and was considered necessary given the number of activities and initiatives delivered by the SBA, the higher costs of services generally, and that the average amount paid for similar levies in other metropolitan schemes.

Establishment of Sydenham Park Consultative Committee 

Council endorsed the draft Sydenham Park Consultative Committee Terms of Reference.

In addition, Council also endorsed and committed to:

  1. Respect and thank the Traditional Owners of the site the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung for their ongoing nurturing and conservation of the waterways, land and flora and fauna within it for over 60,000 years.
  2. Invite expressions of interest for membership to the Sydenham Park Consultative Committee as outlined in this Report.
  3. Direct the Chief Executive Officer to seek and appoint an experienced Independent Chair with significant experience in design or park management as well as building strong relationships with Traditional Owners and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups.
  4. Form a selection panel to determine membership to the Sydenham Park Consultative Committee comprising the Independent Chair, the two appointed Councillor representatives and the two appointed Council Directors.
  5. Receive a further update advising Council of the appointed members to the Sydenham Park Consultative Committee.


At a Council Meeting on 13 December 2022, Council resolved to consider the processes, costs and timelines involved in establishing a Sydenham Park Consultative Committee, subject to the adoption of Sydenham Park Consultative Committee Terms of Reference.

A key purpose of the Sydenham Park Consultative Committee is to provide a forum for sharing ideas and discussions with members on a range of topics relating to the implementation of the Sydenham Park Master Plan.

It is recommended that an Expression of Interest be called for community members who wish to be considered as a member of this new Consultative Committee.

Sydenham Park is a 231-hectare parkland directly adjacent to the Organ Pipes National Park in Keilor North. The Parkland has inherent and protected environmental and geological values, as well as significant Aboriginal Cultural Heritage value.

In November 2022, Council resolved to begin a process to rename Sydenham Park to an appropriate Aboriginal name in consultation with Wurundjeri Woiwurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation.

Quarterly Finance Report (Oct/Nov/Dec) 

Council noted the Quarterly Budget Report and accompanying statements for the period ending 31 December 2022.

This included an analysis of the year-to-date Operating and Cash results, and Operating and Cash Flow forecasts to the financial year ending 30 June 2023.


Financial Hardship Policy 

Council has endorsed the amended Financial Hardship Policy.

The policy provides guidance for assessment of the grounds upon which a waiver of rates and interest may apply or could be applied for.

The current policy does not offer the waiver of the whole or part of any rates and charges raised annually.

In May 2021, the Victorian Ombudsman’s ‘Investigation into how local councils respond to ratepayer in financial hardship’ concluded that a blanket refusal to consider applications on the grounds of financial hardship ‘cannot be justified’.

Following this recommendation, Council has amended the policy to allow for the waiver of rates and charges in exceptional circumstances to ensure it is consistent with the spirit of the Local Government Act, and the approach taken by the Australian Taxation Office and the State Revenue Office.


Governance Report February 2023  

Council considered a summary of recent Governance activity.

This included a report on the exercise of delegated authority, Councillor Representatives and delegates reports from committees and records of informal meetings of Councillors.

In addition Council also:

  • Noted  the Minutes of Audit and Risk Committee Meeting No. 133, held on 9 December 2022
  • Approved a work order 20/2836/W01-23 under a Contract for Civil Works Annual Supply Panel for Road Rehabilitation works to Biggs Streets, St Albans between Arthur Street and Leslie Street
  • Noted the updated and revised membership of the St Albans Town Centre Partnership Group
  • Noted that a Council officer submission was lodged to the National Airports Safeguarding Advisory Group in relation to Guideline C: Managing the Risk of Wildlife Strikes in the Vicinity of Airports
  • Endorsed and committed to sign on behalf of Council, the Mayors for the Voice to Parliament public statement, relating to the Uluru Statement from the Heart
  • Endorsed Council’s membership on The West of Melbourne Economic Development Alliance (WoMEDA), to be reviewed after three years


Appointments to Portfolios and Committees 

Council noted Councillor appointments to Portfolios following the Mayoral election in November 2022.

Council also appointed Councillor delegates to a range of committees.

For a full listing read the Council Minutes.

Council Plan 2021-2025 – Year Two Annual Action Plan (2nd Quarter Progress Report) 

Council considered a quarterly progress report on the ‘Together we are Brimbank’ Council Plan (2021-2025) Year Two Action Plan.

The Plan’s 119 actions are categorised under the strategic directions of People and Community, Places and Spaces, Opportunity and Prosperity, and Leadership and Governance.

As of 31 December 2022, 2 actions are completed and 117 actions are in progress.

The completed actions were:

  • finalised Annual Financial and Performance Statement by 30 September
  • ensured the public art collection is available and accessible online.

Brimbank Community Grants 2022-2023 Program Successful Grants  

One hundred and seventy-seven grant applications were received for the Brimbank Community Grants Program 2022-2023, with a total of $1,079,661 in funding requested.

More than $600,000 in funding has been allocated to not-for-profit community groups and organisations to help deliver local projects, events and programs that improve health and wellbeing, sustainable living and community connections.

41 applications were successful as follows:

  • Community Strengthening Grants – up to $10,000 – 13 grants
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing Grants – up to $10,000 – 8 grants
  • Young People’s Idea Grants – up to $10,000 – 6 grants
  • Climate Emergency Grants – up to $10,000 – 4 grants
  • Community Festival and Event Grants – up to $10,000 – 24 grants
  • Major Festival and Event Grants – up to $25,000 – 4 grants
  • Senior Operational Grants – up to $1,000 – 77 grants.

Notices of Motion

At the Council Meeting on 21 February 2023, four Notices of Motion were carried:

  • Gambling Reform Mandatory Pre-Commitment Scheme – raised by Cr Virginia Tachos
  • 26 January – raised by Cr Jae Papalia
  • Safety Review – Brimbank Aquatic and Wellness Centre – raised by Cr Virginia Tachos
  • Naturestrip Guidelines – raised by Cr Thomas O’Reilly

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Copyright © Brimbank City Council

Brimbank City Council acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of this land, the Wurundjeri People, and pays our respects to Elders past and present.