Council last night adopted a new Community Engagement policy which reflects its commitment to collaborating with the Greater Geelong community to drive positive policy outcomes for the region.
The policy sets out the principles and methods underpinning how, when and why the Council will engagement on decisions which shape the future of the region.
The policy recognises the value of empowering community members and promotes trust and confidence in local democracy. It is also based on the knowledge that community participation enriches Council decision-making, leading to better decisions and stronger outcomes.
Whilst community engagement has long been engrained in the Council’s decision-making processes, it is also a key requirement of the new Local Government Act 2020 is that Council adopt and maintain a dedicated community engagement policy.
Greater Geelong Mayor Stephanie Asher said that Council was pleased to have adopted a policy in line with the legislated timeline of 1 March 2021, which had been informed by comprehensive and diverse contributions from people across Greater Geelong.
Our community is rich in experience, skills, expertise, values and local knowledge and it’s essential that as we consider the policies and strategies which will guide an innovative and sustainable future. The decisions Council make reflect and are informed by the community we are here to represent.
At the centre of the new policy is a commitment to ensuring that decision-making is a partnership between Council and the community, and that there is transparency about how engagement and feedback has contributed to decisions. Naturally there won’t always be a consensus but it’s important that Council is accountable to our community in how and why decisions are made.
The policy itself has been shaped and influenced by community members who provided valuable feedback via workshops and an online survey. Feedback has been incorporated in the policy, included making a stronger commitment to engaging with community members who face barriers to participation through abilities, language, cultural differences, care responsibilities or other factors.
All engagements undertaken by the City of Greater Geelong will be guided by the new Community Engagement Policy.