Mayor Strelow has today thanked members of the community who took part in the 2019-20 Budget Community Consultation.
Workshops were carried out before today’s Budget adoption and showed overwhelming support from participants.
Around 50 members of the community were invited to take part either by random selection or because they were identified as a business, sporting club, or community group stakeholder.
Mayor Margaret Strelow said participants were then walked through the draft budget over the course of two hours and provided their feedback across Council’s areas of discretionary spending.
“Budgets are not a simple thing to put together or understand without the context and that’s why we held these workshops,” Mayor Strelow said.
“We walked people through Council’s financials and the process of putting the Budget together and then asked them for feedback on specific areas to see if we had the balance right.
“From Advance Rockhampton to playground renewals, parks mowing schedules and waste services, people were shown what was being spent and what the outcomes were and were then given the opportunity to tell us if they thought it was good enough.
“I was prepared to ‘stop the clock’ on the budget and go back to square one and start again if there was a strong message from the community.
“The responses overwhelmingly showed that the majority thought we had the balance right. It had been a number of years since we have run community consultation on the Budget and we thought it was time to check-in again.
“The method we used to do this was actually proposed by the Community Engagement team in line with best practise recommended by the national community engagement body, IAP2.
“The benefit for doing these small focus groups is that people are given the opportunity to really understand how an almost quarter of a billion dollar budget is put together.
“To just do a survey with numbers around spending without the context would be a disservice to everyone as it misses the opportunity of explaining the cause and effect relationship – like how increasing spending in one area has flow on effects for rates or cuts to another section.
“In future years, Council will consider how we can look at involving more members of the community through this process to ensure we are getting the balance right,” Mayor Strelow said.