Mayor Kris Hanna talks about changing the Council’s culture and plans for greater use of tech.

What is your vision for the city?

Marion Council has adopted a vision of six themes.

We want to create a city that is liveable, well-planned and welcoming. We value nature and the protection of the environment, and we are engaged with the community. We want to be innovative and eager to develop new ideas; prosperous by attracting investment and job; and connected by bringing people together through a quality transport network and technology.

How will technology help?

Mayor Kris Hanna in robes

Marion is yet to take full advantage of new technologies. For example, we could do more to give residents access to more services online. Technology can help to make each one of our facilities “one-stop shops”, where residents can be provided the full range of Council business services (eg, making payments, getting information) at the one location.

How will you develop your digital services?

We have just upgraded our old software system, which will improve efficiency and accountability. We are beginning to discuss what services can be improved by smarter use of technology. We are also reviewing our website and how we communicate through social media.

What has been the greatest innovation from your civil service?

We recently implemented a system to rigorously review every service we offer the community. It will take years to complete. Local government is actually quite complex: we have identified about 130 different services provided.

We ask ourselves: does the service represent value for money for the community?; do we need that service at all?; and, if so, how can it be improved?

What has been the biggest challenge that the city overcame in 2016?

Since our 2014 election (at which only 5 Councillors continued from the previous term), the biggest challenge perceived by Elected Members of Council was the need for a more resident-centred culture in the organisation.

In 2016 we have seen the beginning of this cultural change, so all managers and staff keep residents in mind continually. After all, providing services to our residents is the reason we exist.

What is your top priority for 2017?

Council has just adopted a three-year plan, which sets out our medium-term priorities. Next year, building sporting infrastructure will be a focus. We are also pursuing energy efficiency, like solar panels for Council buildings and transition to LED street lighting.

What is the biggest area of spending for the city?

Spending on infrastructure represents the biggest investment we make, after staff costs. Our operating expenditure for 2015/16 was A$72.745 million, of which we spent about A$41.75 on public infrastructure and public places. Marion Council maintains over A$1 billion worth of assets, including community buildings, 786 kilometers of footpaths, 461 kilometers of roads and 267 kilometers of drains.

If I were to visit your city, what one place would you recommend?

Marion, like the rest of Australia, cannot be summed up by a single attraction. I’d recommend visiting our Living Kaurna Cultural Centre which is popular with tourists. It celebrates the nation’s indigenous heritage. We’d then visit the 7.2km-long Coastal Walking Trail with its spectacular sea views.

But no trip to Marion is complete without a visit to Oaklands wetlands, where you can see native birds and gum trees in a beautiful aquatic setting. Australia at its best.