Draft Asset Plan and Asset Management Policy released for feedback

Published on 28 April 2022

Entrance to the Belgrave Community Hub

Council’s Draft Asset Management Policy 2022, and Draft Asset Plan 2022-2031 have been released for community feedback following last night’s Council Meeting.

These documents have been developed following a deliberative engagement process where a community panel was established. Panel members explored questions and shared their views on Council’s approach to asset management for a range of asset categories.

Feedback and insights collected through the engagement process has helped shape the Draft Asset Management Policy and Draft Asset Plan, and will inform Council on its future asset management practices.

Yarra Ranges Council manages around $1.5 billion worth of assets, and needs to set funding aside each year to maintain and upgrade them as necessary.

The draft policy and plan cover how Council intends to manage its assets, including infrastructure such as roads, footpaths, drainage, community buildings, lights, parks, open spaces and playgrounds.

The balance of shutting down or ‘retiring’ unused or not-fit-for-purpose assets, along with the creation of new assets that better suit the changing needs of the community, is another key consideration that these documents address.

Yarra Ranges Mayor, Cr Jim Child, said that the feedback received from the community panel had gone a long way to shaping the draft plan and policy.

“The input from the panel was terrific as it helped us better understand how our community views the way we currently manage our assets, and how we can combat the challenges we face in managing them,” Cr Child said.

“Eight key principles towards effective asset management have been developed, with two of those, sustainability and health and wellbeing, coming directly from the work of the residents who were part of the community panel.

“One of the other running themes that we heard from the community was that they wanted to see more evidence-based and transparent decision making applied to the way we manage our assets.

“We feel like we have captured this sentiment in these documents, which will help guide our asset management practices into the future.

“Panel members represented their community well, thinking not just about assets in their local areas, but more broadly across the municipality.

“Their contributions were highly valued, and I’d like to offer a huge thank you to everyone who was involved.

“The next step now is to turn these draft documents back over to the community so they can check to see if there’s anything we’ve missed, or anything they’d like to see more of in either the policy or plan.”

The management of Council’s assets requires a lot of money and future planning, and given they support the delivery of many services to the community, effective management of them is vital.

To assist with this, Council must adopt a ‘Lifecycle Asset Management’ approach, which essentially means maintaining assets to keep them in good shape, replacing assets that are no longer of use, or upgrading and providing new assets that meet changing community needs.

An example of changing community need is the large-scale increase of female participation in sports such as football, which means provisions are required to make appropriate changeroom and pavilion upgrades to accommodate this increase.

Other challenges Council faces include the balancing act of providing adequate assets for both community members and visitors to the region, while also keeping in check the natural environment that the Yarra Ranges is famous for, and doing so in a financially stable way.

Council’s Asset Plan and Policy is tied closely to the five key objectives outlined in its Council Plan.

The 10-year Asset Plan undergoes a review process every four years, to ensure it still represents and is in line with changing community needs as well as the Council Plan.

Community members are encouraged to view the draft policy and plan at https://shaping.yarraranges.vic.gov.au/asset-plan, and have until Wednesday, 25 May to leave their feedback.