Where to next for Mackay Park project

On December 14th 2017 Mayor Liz Innes said she was keeping her fingers crossed after being advised that Council’s $8 million expression of interest to the NSW Government’s Regional Cultural Fund for the proposed Mackay Park Batemans Bay Aquatic and Arts facility, has progressed to the next stage.

Council's media release said that Council "is currently seeking funds for the Batemans Bay Aquatic and Arts Facility from both the NSW and Australian Governments and has submitted two expressions of interest. The second expression of interest is for $28.3 million to the NSW Regional Sports and Infrastructure Fund and applicants are expected to hear if they will be invited to progress to the next stage in February 2018."

The Mayor is also quoted as saying “We are also preparing a submission to the Australian Government’s Building Better Regions Fund,” said Clr Innes. What does Round Two require and where to next ?

Round Two is a going to be interesting as it will require Council to be very open, transparent and accountable to what it provides in its submission.

In Round Two Council will have to explain its

• Need to provide new facilities over the option to refurbish or improve existing facilities

• The proposed projects ability to deliver improved local economic and social infrastructure

• the projects capacity to improve participation and performance in sports at all levels

• the projects ability to improve arts and cultural infrastructure

• the measurability of the project to activate economic potential and its role in revitalising the local community and economy and to spur job creation in regional areas and how the project might improve economic growth and productivity

Council will need to demonstrate broad support for their proposals and actively manage potential negative spill over impacts and delays and their understanding of importance in identifying and remedying these is important to building community support.

Round Two will require Council to identify key stakeholders as early as possible and document:

• Consultation that has been undertaken with those stakeholders, • Issues, impacts and concerns that have been included or excluded from the proposal


• and how the proposal responds to these issues, impacts and concerns.

A proposal with a strong case for change will be able to demonstrate:

• That it resolves a clear set of problems and issues.

• The outcomes are well understood

• That it has broad stakeholder and community support.

While the Department will be responsible for estimating the proposal’s benefits, Council will need to supply the Department with the underlying data and assumptions to quantify the benefits. Such forecasts may consider:

• How many existing users may benefit

• Whether existing users may change how often or how they use a service

• How many new users may benefit

• How often or how these new users may use a service

• How usage may change over time, with or without improvements.

Council will now need to disclose the approach they have adopted and references used to support their forecasts. Applicants should balance the

effort of the forecasting exercise in line with the projected cost of the proposal.

To standardise the approach to calculating benefits and to ease the administrative burden on Council, the Department’s Regional NSW Group will prepare the cost-benefit analysis based on inputs provided by the Council.

Council’s business case will include an economic cost benefit analysis to determine whether a proposal will deliver value for money.

The Cost benefit analysis will seek to assess the economic, social and environmental benefits

and costs over the lifetime of a proposal. In doing so, Council’s cost benefit analysis will need to go beyond just considering the direct effects, financial effects or effects on one party, to considering all impacts on the wellbeing of the entire community.

The Cost benefit analysis will involve a systematic approach to assessing the gains and losses of a proposal, emphasising to the maximum extent possible, the monetary value of these gains and losses.

For the proposal, the following cashflow projections will be sought:

• Revenue or cost savings

• Capital expenditure

• Ongoing operating and maintenance expenditure

• Renewals or major repairs.

Council will be required to provide costs from the start of the proposal (planning) through to the steady state (as a general guide, 5-10 years).

However, by the nature of Council’s proposal, it may be appropriate that the grant assessors undertake a detailed financial appraisal. It has been identified that, where a proposal may need to be financially viable (e.g.

a new swimming pool), the Department will need to assess whether the Council has the

means to continue operating and maintaining the asset after the investment is made. In these instances, Council should well be asked to provide projected revenue estimates or outline proposed funding arrangements. The input assumptions in the financial appraisal

provided will be required be consistent with the data provided for the cost benefit appraisal e.g. anticipated usage of new swimming pool.

It is offered in the guidance notes that assessment of a proposal that offers the best value for money will demonstrate that:

• Objectives are linked to stated problems/opportunities

• A wide range of possible options to meet the stated objectives have been considered

• The reason for selecting the preferred option is clear

• The cost estimates are robust

• The benefits of the proposal are likely to exceed its costs

• All whole-of-life costs, including ongoing costs have been considered

• These costs, particularly ongoing costs, are affordable

• Funding is available for the proposal. As you can see there is now a considerable way to go and no doubt there will be continueed questions being raised by the community around the many facets of this project. Further reading and source of above

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