Performance Surveys

Executive Summary

Nambucca Valley Council (NVC) commissioned Taverner Research Group (TRG) to conduct its 2021 Community Satisfaction Survey, as a random and representative telephone survey of 400 adult residents living within the Nambucca Valley LGA. Surveying was conducted from November 1st to November10th. The sampling error is ±4.84% at the 95% confidence level. Among the key findings:

1. Of 26 Council services and facilities measured, 18 had a mean satisfaction score of three or above (using a 1-5 satisfaction scale). Top-ranked services included water supply, which scored 4.11 out of a possible 5, and sewage collection and treatment (at 4.05). Libraries, parks, reserves and playgrounds, sporting facilities and cleanliness of streets also scored highly.
2. Conversely, eight facilities or services had a mean score of below “par”. Unsealed roads were the worst-ranked of the services measured (scoring a mean of 2.50) followed by youth facilities and activities (2.60), development applications (2.67) and economic development (2.78).
3. There was a 27% improvement in satisfaction rating for upgrading CBDs and destinations such as the V-Wall. However, the stormwater drainage rating fell 15%, and public toilets were 8% lower.
4. In terms of importance, river water quality once again had the highest mean rating at 4.51 (again using a 1-5 scale), together with sealed roads (also 4.51). These were followed in importance by waste and recycling (4.39), coastal and beach management (4.28) and cleanliness of streets (4.27) and environmental monitoring and protection (also 4.27).
5. When placed into a matrix of importance vs. satisfaction, the following picture emerged:

Priorities for Council
Strengths to Maintain
12 River water quality
13 Coastal and beach management
15 Foot paths and Cycleways
16 Services for the Elderly
18 Environmental Monitoring and protection
19 Sealed Roads
21 Stormwater Drainage
22 Public Toilets
1 Water Supply
4 Parks, reserves and playgrounds
6 Cleanliness of streets
8 Bridges
10 Waste and recycling
Second Order Issues Oppourtunities
14 Dog Control
17 Online Services
20 Weed Control
23 Economic development and attracting new investment
24 Development Applications (DA's)
25 Youth facilities and activities
26 Unsealed roads
2 Sewage collection and treatment
3 Libraries
5 Sporting facilities
7 Council pool
11 Community halls

6. This suggests that perceived Council strengths include water supply, parks, reserves and playgrounds, cleanliness of streets, bridges, upgrading CBDs and other destinations, and waste and recycling.
7. However, Council is seen to be falling short in higher importance areas such as river water quality, coastal and beach management, footpaths and cycleways, services for the elderly, environmental monitoring and protection, sealed roads, stormwater drainage and public toilets. In particular, this highlights the increasing expectations of Council in relation to a range of environmental issues.
8. Overall satisfaction has fallen marginally in this latest survey, to a mean (on a 1-5 satisfaction scale) of 3.30 - against 3.43 in 2019. However, the difference is not considered statistically significant. Meanwhile 43% of residents were satisfied or very satisfied, against 16% dissatisfied (and the balance neutral). The net satisfaction score (% satisfied less % dissatisfied) of +27% compares with +37% for 2019 and +26% for 2016.
9. Roads (20%), addressing environmental concerns (13%) and attracting new businesses and investment (also 13%) were the top-mentioned priorities for Council resources. The major priorities have changed little since 2019.
10. TRG is able to benchmark NVC satisfaction scores against 25 other regional NSW councils. In the case of infrastructure, Council scores are largely on par with its peers – and substantially higher in the case of water supply. However, it is slightly lower in relation to libraries, and at the bottom of the list in relation to stormwater drainage.
11. In the case of services, NVC is again on par with other regional councils on many measures. And overall satisfaction (3.40) is slightly above the mean for its regional peers (3.34). However, it is lower in relation to environmental monitoring and protection, public toilets, and youth facilities and activities.
12. Some 54% of respondents had contact with Council’s administration during the previous 12 months. Satisfaction with Council’s handling of these respondents’ most recent interaction fell to a mean satisfaction score of 3.08 (on a 1-5 scale) – above the 3.0 “neutral” score, but down from the 3.50 mean in 2019.
13. Residents were asked their views on a range of issues chosen by outgoing Councillors. Results showed strong levels of support for Council playing a role in increasing the stock of affordable housing in the Nambucca Valley (57% for, 32% against), and for the initiative to create a Great Koala National Park (78% for, 18% against).
14. However, views were split on the other two issues. In relation to adopting strategies for more medium-density housing in Nambucca Heads and Macksville, 47% supported while 42% opposed. And on the topic of punishing continued waste contamination offenders by stopping their green and yellow bin collection, 44% supported this initiative while 46% opposed.

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