Onkaparinga Council News March 2021


Cherry Gardens Bushfires

I would like to congratulate the Country Fire Service and other emergency services for their efforts in combating the recent bushfires in the Cherry Gardens area.  You all played such a vital role in looking after our community and we were fortunate not to have had the disastrous consequences of the Adelaide Hills bushfires of last year.  I saw the smoke from my home at Flagstaff Hill and monitored the activities on the Alert SA app, with regular updates over the following days.

Council staff has been out clearing damaged trees from the roadsides and working on our recove4ry process.  I attended the Cherry Gardens community meeting at the hall on the evening of Friday 5 February with mayor Erin Thompson and staff where the recovery support process was discussed.  The mayor was able to travel through the area shortly after the fires and see the impact they had and speak with residents, whilst Councillor Themeliotis and I were able to be to do so with the City of Onkaparinga CEO (Scott Ashby) a few days later with council’s emergency management team leader a few days later..

Long Term Financial Plan & Strategic Asset Management Plan

The City of Onkaparinga’s Long-Term Financial Plan LTFP) went before and was agreed to by Council at our meeting on 16 February.  We developed a LTFP that directly reflects where and how the community believes its rates should be spent.  Having a sustainable and clear LTFP is the cornerstone of good Council financial administration.   It is founded on a suite of 16 principles developed following feedback from the community on service provision, project, rates, and debt management. Council staff and elected members have worked hard over seven months to put together a Plan, which will make it financially sustainable and more accountable now and into the future.  The detailed model sets out a trajectory for both expenditure of funds, and for reigning in and eliminating debt over the long term.  Importantly the LTFP will eliminate Council’s deficit over four years, transitioning it to a balanced budget. It will also reduce its call on long term borrowings to fund future major projects, by applying a new more conservative funding formula and applying greater rigour to decision making.  It also recognises the reality that the community expects major projects to be completed, facility and asset upgrades to be undertaken, and our community assets maintained.  Under this Plan, our current services will be maintained, and where clear decisions are made by Council, improved.  It recognises that rate increases will need to reflect CPI increases, as our costs go up.

However any decisions to increase rates beyond CPI will need to be transparently made by Council, informing the community of exactly what those funds will go towards, and ringfencing them for that use.

So the community can see where their money is going, and that they get what they paid for.

Australia Day Events

Australia Day was busy again and I attended the Australia Day breakfast held at the Happy Valley Sport Ground where some 1,550 people attended.  This location certainly provides a great location with plenty of room for both parking and people to meet under the current COVID19 restrictions.   The Member for Davenport Steve Murray did a great job at the BBQ and my fellow Councilor Marion Themeliotis worked hard handing out the food.  I acted as a runner between the BBQs and then officiated at the ceremony.  This event went well with the management tasks undertaken well by the oval’s management committee and their volunteers from the sport clubs and scouts

I then attended the Noarlunga breakfast at Ramsey Place Noarlunga Centre on my way to the Australia Day awards presentations and citizenship ceremony held at the Hopgood Theatre followed by the Australia Day Fair held at the Wilfred Taylor Reserve, Morphett Vale.   47 residents of our city became Australian citizens at the Citizenship Ceremony.  Then in later afternoon I attended at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Australia Day celebration at Hillier Road, Morphett Vale with deputy mayor Simon McMahon.

The 2021 City of Onkaparinga Award recipients are:

  • Citizen of the Year – Paul Crate
  • Young Citizen of the Year – Angus Miller
  • Community Event of the Year – Jessica Jones Wildlife Event

What’s on – running events

For those residents who like to get out an exercise we have three major running events headed to Onkaparinga from February 21, with options ranging from a 500t-metre kids race, to a breathtaking marathon.  The Onkaparinga Trail Run 2021, which is race three of the Adelaide Trail Runners Summer Series, took place on Sunday 21 February through the beautiful Onkaparinga River National Park, supported by council’s Healthy Active Lifestyles Onkaparinga (HALO).

This is the first time the event is being held in Onkaparinga, and there are three different courses on offer to cater for runners of all abilities, as well as a free 500-metre Little Legends race for kids.  The races (nine kilometres, 15 kilometres or 21 kilometres) depart from Piggott Range Road, Clarendon, and City of Onkaparinga residents receive a $5 discount on the entry fee.

Between April (9-11) and South Australia’s premier running event, the Leconfield Wines McLaren Vale Marathon, is headed to town, also incorporating a half-marathon, 13km and 6km races, and a free kids’ run, with options for runners and walkers alike.  Presented by Great Southern Runs, this year’s event also features the City of Onkaparinga Mile—a 1.6-kilometre fun run, giving everyone the opportunity to join in and get active.  With a focus on participation and inclusion, the Mile is perfect for kids and athletes with a disability. Carers, guides or parents are welcome to join their runners around the course.

There are also some great extracurricular activities, such as a movie night, presentations and post-race party at Leconfield & Richard Hamilton Wines.

South Australia’s premier half-marathon, the Great Southern Half Marathon (also presented by Great Southern Runs), is headed to Aldinga Bay on Sunday 16 May, also offering 10km and 5km races, with options for both runners and walkers.

Any one looking to keep healthy and active in 2021 should give one of these events a go. There’s something to suit everyone, whether you’re a walker, a child, an athlete with a disability, you’re looking to start your running journey, or you’re a seasoned marathon pro.  Our towns and suburbs offer an incredible diversity of scenic roads, trails, parks and tracks, and it’s great to see these events building on our credentials as a premier running and cycling destination.  If running’s not your thing, you could try the HALO program, OUTFIT Onkaparinga, offering free group exercise sessions outside in a welcoming environment with a personal trainer. There are various times and locations (including Hackham West, Port Noarlunga, Seaford and Flagstaff Hill). Head to onkaparinganow.com,  to find out more.

Transparency hub

The City of Onkaparinga has launched a new Transparency and Integrity Portal, to improve the visibility of its operations and accountability to its community.  This Portal provides a single point of access for a range of information such as expense reporting, policy documents and gift and benefit registers for employees and elected members.  This is about council being open and transparent, and freely sharing information about council operations and the expenditure of public funds.  Our community has been very clear that transparency is the cornerstone of building greater trust and I can assure you we’ve listened.  This portal is the latest demonstration of this council’s willingness to be accountable for our actions and serve our community with integrity.  It will also help our residents to better understand Council decisions, activities and operations.  Council will continue to add content to the portal in coming months, and we welcome community feedback either via the portal, or by phone or email.  View the Transparency and Integrity Portal now at www.onkaparingacity.com/transparency-portal

Onkaparinga Now summer issue out now

The summer edition of Onkaparinga Now is out.  Onkaparinga Now keeps you up to date on the latest council news and events, and includes articles on the environment, local business leaders, amazing people and our fantastic lifestyle.

You can pick up a printed copy from various council sites including council offices, libraries, community centres and the visitor centre, or read the articles online at onkaparinganow.co

The website is updated weekly with new articles and you can subscribe to receive alerts via email.

Wotif’s Aussie Town of the Year – McLaren Vale’s in Australia’s Top 10 

Wotif have announced that McLaren Vale is #6 in its national Aussie town of the year.  Congratulations to the McLaren Vale tourism operators, this is a great coup for the region! The awards are based on a Wotif data index, which looks at the quality, affordability and tourism appeal of accommodation and activities within the region.  Mayor Thompson is the key spokesperson for our destination as part of the campaign along with local wine and tour operators. The tourism team have been working with Wotif to showcase McLaren Vale and the broader region and support the Wotif campaign.


The views expressed in this article are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Council.

Geoff Eaton


Thalassa Ward

City of Onkaparinga