The 2017/18 financial year was a dynamic period for our City and our organisation. The City of Launceston welcomed a new General Manager, Michael Stretton and had significant change in the membership of the executive management team.
We continued to deliver incredibly exciting projects, some of which promise to be truly transformational. The Launceston City Deal agreement, the Greater Launceston Transformation Project (Smart Cities), the First Tasmanians Exhibition, Tamar River Heath Action Plan, CH Smith redevelopment, City Heart projects, the UTAS relocation, continuation of the Northern Suburbs project and the development of a Cultural Strategy for our City to name a few.
At the same time, the City has continued to deal with our business as usual and worked to conclude long-running matters such as the combined drainage dispute, Boral relocation, North Bank and Macquarie House.
The opportunity that these projects provide is extremely important for the City and region; the benefits from economic activity create the potential for improved social outcomes.
Delivering on these opportunities does not come without financial and resourcing challenges as the organisation continues to deliver ongoing services while also making space to capitalise on these projects. The municipal area is not experiencing significant economic or population growth, indeed a number of these projects in particular the City Deal, have come about to stimulate economic activity and population growth. This means that there needs to be a reprioritisation of elements of the Council's budget in the short term with the expectation that the resultant growth will provide an economic return in the medium term.
Annual Budget 2018/19
This 2018/19 budget is prepared in the context of these opportunities and the challenges faced by the community. The public expectation of the Council is that it plays a significant role in addressing the challenges and facilitates the realisation of the potential benefits that these opportunities present.
Balancing the competing needs of maintaining facilities and services, supporting important economic development and social inclusion programs and capitalising on the potentially dramatic changes to the City and the natural and built environment is an ongoing challenge, indeed it is the role of the Council. The organisation has prepared this budget cognisant of these challenges and opportunities and the need for continuous improvement in the way services are provided to our community.
There is a focus on revision of our key planning documents in 2018; the Strategic Plan, the Long-term Financial Plan and Strategic Asset Management Plan. Development of a draft four-year resourcing and delivery plan by October 2018 will see the Council well placed to deliver for our community into the future, in a sustainable and focused way.
Investment in organisational culture and continuous improvement programs (LEAN) will be an internal priority in 2018/2019 - as we focus on providing a safe and productive work environment where we are all engaged in providing services to our community in an efficient manner.