Councillor Customer Requests Overview 2022 – 2023

During My time as a Councillor many community members have conveyed their frustrations directly to me regarding the challenges they face in getting timely responses from the Council. It’s clear that our community’s needs are evolving, and so must our approaches to meeting these needs. The insights provided in the report are not just reflections of where we are right now but give us a guide toward where we need to go. 

  1. Can staff detail the nature of the 1% of requests that remain outstanding across all  wards?   What steps are being taken to address these lingering concerns? 
  2. With an average completion time exceeding 20 days for the top Councillor request  types, what specific actions are proposed to expedite complex requests involving  multiple parties or requiring stakeholder engagement?  
  3. Given the report indicates a decrease in total requests from 2022 to 2023, can staff  elaborate on whether this trend is attributed to the new system’s efficiency, a  reduction in community issues, or other factors?
  4. Can staff provide more detailed insights into the challenges faced during the  transition between the customer request management systems? Specifically, how did  these challenges impact the processing and resolution of Councillor requests?  

Motion That:

  1. The report is received and noted.
  2. The Council acknowledges the improvements made in customer request handling through the implementation of the new management system.
  3. Communication, Engagement and Customer team prioritise reporting on the resolution of the current outstanding Councillor requests, with a report on these actions and outcomes to be provided by an update. 
  4. Council explores the introduction of a Councillor & public  dashboard or reporting mechanism to increase transparency around request processing and resolution status, enhancing community engagement and trust reports back the results in an update. 

Draft Sutherland Shire Overland Flood Study – Update

An Overland Flood Study is a legal requirement of the NSW Government, to manage flood risks.

 All NSW councils must prepare this as part of the NSW State Government’s Flood Prone Land Policy. Flooding is unpredictable and can cause significant damage to property and life. When flooding is severe, sudden rain, it causes ‘over land’ or flash flooding.

It can be many years between floods but multiple floods can happen in one year.  

In recognition of the seriousness of the concerns raised by our Community I crafted questions for the staff to answer publicly. These question were to delve deeper into the specifics of the current situation, Challenge us to think critically about our preparedness, and to guide our discussions towards actionable solutions. They reflect my commitment to not only understand the extent of the problem but to also prioritise and allocate the necessary resources effectively. As a Councillor I must apply a balanced and measured approach to all decisions. 

 Q1. Considering the multifaceted purpose of Overland Flood Studies, including identifying  and assessing flood risk, informing strategic land use policy, developing flood-related  development controls, enhancing flood emergency management planning and response,  raising community awareness and preparedness, and guiding infrastructure design and  improvement, how is the Council planning to address and manage the immediate flood risk  for properties, given the interim removal of flood notations from planning certificates until  the final adoption of the Study?  

Q2. Following the letters sent to The Hon Paul Scully, MP, Minister for Planning and Public  Spaces, and the Hon Penny Sharpe, MP, Minister for Climate Change, Energy, the Environment  and Heritage, on 10 November 2023, expressing various concerns and requests for  clarification regarding the Overland Flood Study, can staff provide an update on any responses  or directions received from the State Government? Specifically, has there been any feedback  regarding the methodology and criteria for flood studies, updates on planning certificates  during the flood management planning process, the frequency of flood studies, and the  request for state-wide community education on flood studies and flood risk modelling data  from insurance companies to inform council flood studies?  

Q3. Given the significant impact of recent flooding events in New South Wales and  Queensland on the insurance industry, with the Insurance Council of Australia reporting the  f  loods as Australia’s fourth costliest disaster with insured losses estimated at $4.3 billion from  216,465 claims, and acknowledging the increasing financial strain on the insurance sector  which is likely to result in rising insurance premiums for residents in flood-prone areas and  potentially for other householders, what measures or considerations are being taken to  mitigate potential insurance premium increases for our community members, especially in  light of the findings from the Overland Flood Study and the anticipated outcomes of the  Woronora Flood Study.  Q4. What are the specific criteria and scope for the pending peer review of the Flood Study?  How will Council ensure that the review is thorough and considers the community’s  concerns? 

Q5. In light of the recent Overland Flood Study report, there have been community members  raising concerns about the allocation of $2,237,069 towards Drainage, Water Quality &  Stormwater Drainage, could the staff provide an analysis of the current budget allocation  towards these areas? Specifically, is the allocated budget deemed sufficient to address the  identified needs and priorities of the Sutherland Shire? How does this allocation compare  with best practices and benchmarks from similar Councils that have successfully implemented  f  lood mitigation strategies? 

Frequently Asked Questions

Urgency Motion: Council cashless transactions policy – Jack Boyd

An Urgency motion was put forward from Cr Jack Boyd in relation to Council’s cashless transactions policy. Many community members in E Ward have reached out to me in relation to the challenges they experience with the Councils cashless policy. I fully support this motion. 


  1. Notes that Sutherland Shire Leisure Centres and other Council operations adopted a cashless transaction policy during the COVID pandemic.
  2. Acknowledges that certain members of the community may have difficulties in accessing certain services as a result of the policy.
  3. That the Shire Services Committee receive a Report detailing the history, merits and challenges of the policy, and options  for the re-introduction of small cash transactions across select frontline  business operations by the May 2024 round of Committees.
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Contact Laura Cowell