The Prohibited Burning Period for the Shire has been extended further and will now apply until midnight, Tuesday 14 May 2024. No fires can be lit in the open air. More information here.

About the survey

The Shire conducts a community survey every three years to understand the community’s perception of:

  • Our region as a place to live, work and visit
  • The work of Council and the Shire
  • What the priorities for our region should be in the future.

Results from the past two surveys are provided below.

2023 Community Perceptions Survey

The 2023 study was conducted by CATALYSE Pty Ltd, an independent company.   A total of 1084 community responses were received from residents, ratepayers, business operators and visitors. 

The following provides a snapshot of the results from the 2023 survey.  To view all results, download the full report.

Thank you to everyone who took time to complete the survey. We appreciate all the responses we received.

The results show you are happy with our library amenities, and recognise the improvements in our waste collection services, streetscapes, trees and verges, and the work we’re doing with Traditional Owners.

However, the feedback is that you want us to focus more efforts on responsibly growing and developing the region, maintaining local roads, improving community safety and ensuring more services and facilities for families, children and seniors.

The Shire provides a wide range of direct services to support community wellbeing and is continually looking at ways we can improve, through a program of reviews. Next year we plan to incorporate a range of customer satisfaction measures into our daily services.

Some of the issues identified in the survey are ones that we have seen emerging in the last couple of years. The concerns highlighted are partly a result of the recent and rapid increase in the local population and the continued high level of tourist visitation throughout the year.

The Shire’s role in respect of these can vary– sometimes we are a decisionmaker and sometimes we provide a service. Other times we advocate or lobby on behalf of the community around issues that are not within our direct control, as in the case of hospital and healthcare services, or crime and safety which are matters being managed by other agencies and levels of government.

While the Community Perceptions Survey is a statutory requirement for local government, it is only one of the many ways in which we listen to our community throughout the year. We run a range of consultations on many issues and initiatives and engage regularly with local groups on matters which affect them. In addition, residents and ratepayers can email us or lodge online requests, ask questions or make more formal submissions to Council. Council members participate in community events and have informal meetings out in the community through the Cuppa with a Councillor program. 

We are always happy to hear from you.

We were heartened to see that some of the matters identified in the survey were those we had already recognised as emerging issues, and as such I can assure the community that they are already on our radar. Some of the themes have already informed a range of actions being undertaken by the Shire, either planned or currently underway.

We will use the results of this survey to strengthen the inputs, further inform and refine our priorities going forward and in deciding where our efforts and resources should be applied.

We will continue to listen and work together for the benefit of our community.

Paula Cristoffanini
Shire President

Respondents were asked to identify their top priorities for the Shire to focus on improving over the next ten years. Six clear themes emerged from your responses.

What we are doing
Planning and building approvals​​​​​​
  • Searching for efficiencies within the complex statutory planning and building framework, with an increasing number of planning and building applications.
  • Undertaking a dedicated project, commencing 2023-24, to review Shire processes and communications, with a focus on improving the experiences our community has with us.
Responsible growth and development
  • Our Local Planning Strategy 2036 sets the direction for future management of population growth.
  • Reviewing our Local Planning Scheme in 2023-24, a process which will incorporate extensive community consultation. 
Building and maintaining local roads
  • Continuing to improve our asset maintenance processes by identifying priorities in our extensive network of sealed and unsealed roads.
  • Undertaking condition assessments for all Shire infrastructure assets – a process due for completion this financial year - ensuring a rational and responsible approach to asset improvement, management.
Family and children’s services
  • Continuing to lobby Federal and State governments for investment in services that support children and families. 
  • Completing a major refurbishment of the Margaret River Recreation Centre in 2023.
  • Developing a Leisure Plan, to look at where and how public open spaces in the region are used for sports, recreation, and community-related activities.
  • Continuing with the new ‘learn to swim’ program at Gnarabup beach in 2023-24.
Community safety and crime prevention
  • Maintaining a strong working relationship with the local police to identify and, if possible, address crime and safety issues. 
  • Introducing an increased presence of the Shire’s Ranger team to enforce and administer State Statutes and Council Local Laws over the peak summer months.
Senior services and facilities
  • Our Shire attracts many retirees. Seniors have become a fast-growing cohort who require access to specialised healthcare, adding pressures to services and facilities that ensure we are an age-friendly community. 
  • Continuing to advocate for the provision of services that support our senior community, with the State Government, particularly around healthcare.
  • Providing a range of services contributing to the wellbeing of our seniors community including programs at our libraries, recreation centres and Margaret River HEART.
  • Working to improve access and communications about the services for older adults that we provide.
  • Finalising our review and update of the Shire’s Age Friendly Community Plan in 2023/24,formed through consultation with community.

In addition to the community priorities above, a number of other areas were identified where respondents perceive that the Shire is already doing a good job, but could look to enhance services.

What we're doing
Sport and Recreation services and facilities
  • Finalising our Leisure Plan which will determine the location of new areas of public open space and reserves, the way that they are used, and the facilities needed to ensure community can continue to participate in sports, recreation, and inclusive community-related activities. 
  • Refurbishing the Margaret River Recreation Centre, which is due for completion in 2023.
  • Continuing to work closely with local sporting clubs and groups to enhance other existing sport and recreation facilities.
Sustainable practices and climate change
  • Continue implementation of our Climate Action Plan, which sets a target of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Whilst the Shire’s largest buildings already use 100% renewable energy sources, one of our key actions in 2023-24 will be investigating how we can make street lighting more energy efficient and assist the community to lower emissions.
  • Continuing to look at how we can adapt to the impacts of climate change, both as an organisation as well as in support of the wider community. Next financial year we will be completing an initial phase of adaptation planning.
Conservation and environment
  • Preparing a Biodiversity Strategy in 2023-24, recognising the importance of our region as part of the Busselton to Augusta National Biodiversity Hotspot and International South West Hotspot.
  • Continuing to work with and provided funding to volunteers and partners to manage our environment, including implementing large scale revegetation, weed control and access control and educate our community and visitors about the environmental values of our region.
Health and community services
  • Continue to advocate for improved local health services; whilst we do not directly provide healthcare, we recognise that access to timely and appropriate healthcare services is a priority for our community.
Local beaches and coastline
  • Improving access to beaches was highlighted as a priority in the recently reviewed Access and Inclusion Plan. We are in the process of finalising conceptual infrastructure upgrade plans for key coastal locations including how we can make our beaches more accessible.
  • Continuing with beach lifeguard services at Rivermouth over the peak months.
  • Working to support local surf and board rider clubs to improve rescue response, whilst advocating to State government for improved rescue response into the future.
Youth services and facilities
  • Continuing to provide youth services at the Margaret River Youth precinct.
  • Actively engage and collaborate with the Youth Advisory Council and local schools to provide guidance on how best to service and support our entire youth community.

Community Perception Survey 2019

Results from the 2019 survey can be downloaded below.

More information and contact

If you have questions about the survey results, please contact us via [email protected].

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