Biripi Way Office Centralisation

Consultation closes at 4.30pm on Friday 14 December 2018

Artists Impression of Biripi Way frontage

Establishing a head office for MidCoast Council

Consolidating administrative functions into a single head office site, just as most large organisations do, not only makes good commercial sense but will provide a space that caters for the needs of our community into the future.

Our administration is currently spread across three different buildings, with an average age of 37 years. Looking towards a future of sustainable growth for the region, moving to one head office will ensure we are leading change in our community while continuing to provide essential services, more efficiently, for our residents and ratepayers.

The current consultation phase of this project allows you to review the draft financing strategy, which is designed to ensure the $20 million cost to design and fitout the head office will not impact on our day-to-day operations, or our ratepayers.

Review the information below and provide your feedback by completing a short survey, before the consultation closes on Friday 14 December.

Click through the sections below to find:

  • Impacts and benefits of the proposed head office
  • How the office fitout will be funded
  • The online survey where you can provide your feedback
  • Community information sessions, and application to host a session in your village area
  • FAQs / submit a question that has not yet been covered

Biripi Way is situated in Taree South just off Manning River Drive, and is known as the site of the former Masters retail outlet.

Map showing location of Biripi Way in Taree South, just off Manning River Drive, at the site of the former Masters Building.

Operating and maintaining a single head office location is significantly more cost-effective than continuing to operate across multiple sites. This is particularly true in our situation given the need to repair and repurpose three older buildings that together do not provide the facilities or physical space required for the size of our organisation.

Current buildings – the campus model   

The cost to establish a campus model to meet our current needs has been estimated at $12.9 million, plus ongoing maintenance costs.                                                      

  • Teams spread across numerous buildings
  • Complicated, inefficient floor plans and fitout
  • Limited room to house current staff, or allow for future growth
  • High immediate and on-going maintenance requirements
  • Limited parking for council and customer vehicles
  • High overheads, such as energy, insurance and security
  • Inefficient sharing of electronic information between offices due to poor connectivity
  • Costs and time associated with staff travel between offices 

Head office building – the single-site model

The draft financing proposal to design and fitout the head office at Biripi Way, Taree, outlines a funding requirement of $20 million. This compares favourably with relocation projects undertaken, or in progress, by other large organisations and councils such as City of Greater Geelong, Yarra Ranges and Shellharbour.

  • Improved collaboration for more efficient service delivery
  • Streamlined and consistent processes
  • Reduced operating costs
  • Reduced maintenance costs
  • Opportunity to reduce council’s carbon footprint
  • Reduced travel time and improved staff productivity
  • A modern facility suitable for future growth
  • Incorporates one of five customer service centres, with over-the-counter customer service retained in all existing locations including Forster, Taree, Tea Gardens, Gloucester and Stroud

The business case, first prepared in January 2018 included a cost benefit analysis. The cost benefit analysis was revised in October 2018 to take into account more conservative property valuations for the Council administration buildings in Forster and Taree. The intention behind the revision was to assess the impact of lower property values on the overall outcome of the analysis. The more conservative property valuations do have an impact on the cost benefit analysis, however as the revised tables and conclusion in the report show, it still results in a positive assessment and strongly favours the single site option.

View the updated business case.(PDF, 478KB)

You can review the original Business Case here(PDF, 1MB).

A draft financing strategy to fund the $20 million head office relocation has been prepared for consultation. It has been designed so it does not impact on funding for our day-to-day operations, or your rates, and identifies funding from three sources:

  • Cash reserves (savings realised through the merger) - $7.2 million
  • Sale of property assets - $4.8 million
  • Borrowings - $8 million, with repayments funded through rental income on property assets

The draft financing strategy makes it clear that:

  • There will be no special rate variation required for this project
  • There will be no impact on operational funds such as the $100 million road program and capital works and maintenance programs for Council assets, which will continue to be delivered to our community as planned.

We will also work with both Federal and State Government bodies to identify opportunities for financial contributions to the project. Any funding received would reduce the level of loan funds required.

The cost to establish a head office for 350 staff (and one that accommodates future growth) compares favourably to similar consolidation projects undertaken or in progress by other large organisations and councils such as the City of Greater Geelong.

You can read the draft Financing Strategy in full here.(PDF, 101KB)

Your feedback is important to us and will be compiled and presented at a future Council meeting, where Councillors will make a decision on whether to proceed to the next stage of the project.

Once you have reviewed all the information provided, take a few minutes to complete the survey below.

If you or someone you know would prefer to fill out a paper-based survey, download the information flyer containing the survey here(PDF, 1MB). This flyer will also be letterbox dropped to all residents and businesses across the MidCoast region during the week of 12 November.

Completed paper-surveys can be dropped at any of our Customer Service Centres, or mailed back at no charge, by addressing your envelope to Reply Paid 482, Taree NSW 2430.

Please limit your response to one survey per person. The survey and consultation phase closes on Friday 14 December.

Note – our survey provides a consistent format for collecting and reporting your feedback to Councillors. Submissions provided through any other channel (including social media) can not be considered as part of this consultation process.

Our aim is to ensure everyone in the community has an opportunity to find out more about the head office project and the draft financing strategy, so they can provide informed feedback during the consultation phase.

Sessions will be held in the following locations:

  • Taree - proposed head office site, Biripi Way. 10am, Thursday 22 November
  • Gloucester - Council Chambers. 6pm, Thursday 22 November
  • Taree - Council Chambers. 6pm, Monday 26 November
  • Forster - Council Chambers. 10am, Monday 26 November
  • Forster - Council Chambers. 6pm, Tuesday 27 November

While we encourage residents from areas surrounding the venues above to attend their closest session, a limited number of additional sessions are available to community groups in smaller villages and areas outside the listed locations.

Request to host a session

If you’re interested in applying to host a session in your community, please complete the Expression of Interest form below, noting that:

  • We may not be able to cater for all requests, and in some cases may offer a combined session for communities in close proximity
  • To host a session, you’ll need to arrange a suitable venue and be responsible for letting your community know when and where the session will be held
  • There are limited spaces available, so locations will be selected based on ensuring a good geographical coverage and expected attendance

Complete an Expression of Interest to host an additional session here. EOIs close at 6pm on Friday 30 November.

Click here to view form.

We understand you will have questions about the head office project that may not be covered in the information provided.

To help, we’ve compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions which will be updated as we progress through the consultation phase.

If you have a question about any aspect of the project:

  • Come along to a Community Information session and ask us in person.
  • Submit a question below. We’ll monitor these and add commonly asked questions to the FAQs document.

Click here to view form.

Monday 12 November 2018

Updated FAQs(PDF, 542KB) just loaded. Thanks to everyone for submitting questions which have highlighted some key themes. Don't forget, if there's something you'd like to know about that isn't covered, come along to an information session (starting next Thursday at the proposed head office site in Biripi Way), or use the "submit a question" function. FAQs will continue to be updated as additional commonly asked questions are received.

Tuesday 6 November 2018

Our Director of Corporate and Business Systems, Steve Embry, spoke with Anthony Zanos on 2RE this morning. Steve provides an overview of the project, and explains the current consultation phase is seeking input specifically about the draft financing strategy, and the impacts and benefits of moving to a single site. You can listen to the interview here.

Monday 5 November 2018 - 6.00am

The draft financing strategy for the Biripi Way office centralisation project is now open for public consultation. 

Our FAQs document will be updated during the course of the consultation in response to feedback and questions we receive.

You can ask a question here.