New policy to enhance community engagement

The Council’s commitment to ensuring community participation in decision-making will be further strengthened through a new community engagement policy.

Council last week endorsed a draft Community Engagement Policy which outlines its focus on building on its longstanding commitment to provide accessible and inclusive opportunities for residents to be involved in and help shape decisions which impact the region’s liveability and prosperity.

The draft Community Engagement Policy is a key requirement under the new Local Government Act (Vic) 2020 and will now undergo community consultation before being adopted by 1 March 2021.

Each year the Greater Geelong Council invites the community to participate in approximately 200 engagements across a variety of policies, projects and initiatives that might affect, impact or interest them, such as planning, decisions or general council activities.

The draft policy outlines the City’s responsibility and commitment to reporting back to the community about what was learnt, including the data and information collected in the engagement process, and how the feedback received has influenced decisions, plans and activities.

It also seeks to support enhanced participation from people from diverse cultural backgrounds, experiences and abilities.

Feedback on the draft Community Engagement Policy can be provided via the City’s online engagement platform or during one of the virtual workshops which will take place in late January or early February.

Community members are invited to provide their feedback before Friday 5 February, 2021 or register their interest to attend an online workshop at the Have Your Say page.

Greater Geelong Mayor Stephanie Asher:

Community engagement is a really important element of what we do as a Council and ensures we can make decisions that reflect the best interests of our diverse community.

This new policy strengthens our approach to engagement with the community to ensure we are providing everyone with the opportunity to have their say on the things that matter to them.

I encourage community members to review the draft policy and provide their feedback so that Council can move forward and adopt a community engagement policy which genuinely and meaningfully reflects the aspirations of residents in how they wish to be involved in decisions.

Cr Anthony Aitken, Chair of the Citizenship and Community Engagement portfolio:

It’s important that engagement continually evolves with advances in technology and other changes in society, and this draft policy challenges us to make sure our engagement processes are accessible and inclusive.

It is a draft, so we invite the community to read the document and give us your feedback – we’re open to further ideas.

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