Annual council report card: how does Sutherland rate?

Sutherland Shire Council. Picture: Simon Bennett
Sutherland Shire Council. Picture: Simon Bennett

The annual report card comparing councils across NSW has just been released, and makes for interesting reading for Sutherland residents.

Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock released the updated Your Council website this week with the latest comparative statistics about the operations and demographics of the 128 local councils in NSW.

Sutherland, with a population of 230,611 and an area of 333.6 square kilometres, has a significantly lower population density than the average for like councils in its group (including Bayside and Georges River), with 691 residents per square kilometre, compared to the average of 3444.

Sutherland's population is also growing more slowly that its comparative councils, increasing only 1.9 per cent in the past five years, compared with the group average of seven per cent.

Where Sutherland Shire Council really excels is in the provision of public assets.

Residents have access to more pools, public halls, libraries and open public space than the average in their council group.

The shire has 13 pools, where the average is six, 33 halls versus the average of 22 and eight libraries compared to an average of six.

The big winner is the public open space, no doubt thanks in large part to the Royal National Park - Sutherland provides 2671 square kilometres of public open space, compared to the group average of 1063 square kilometres.

When it comes to shire residents, they on average have a higher socio-economic index than the group average.

Sutherland folk average an index of 114 (where the highest possible total is 128 and the lowest is one), while the group averages 103.

There is also a far smaller percentage of shire residents who speak languages other than English than the group average: just 13 per cent in Sutherland compared to 41 per cent in similar council areas.

The percentage of unemployment is lower in the shire (three per cent) than the group average (five per cent), and the average income ($72,645) is also slightly lower than the group average ($73,744).

Sutherland's largest industry of employment is the Health Care and Social work.

Residents in the shire pay more for the residential rates (averaging $1368.30) than their comparative group ($1117.50), but businesses pay significantly less on average for their rates ($3544.20 versus $6319.90).

And while Sutherland Shire Council takes about 40 days longer to determine development applications (172 gross mean days) than the group average (133 days), they determined significantly more DAs (1306) than their comparative councils (821 on average).

You can check out all these statistics, and more, for yourself at yourcouncil.nsw.gov.au.