Toowoomba Council to Probe New Community Engagement Model

Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) has today taken the first step towards a new approach to community representation for Councillors.

At today's Ordinary Meeting of TRC, Councillors agreed to bring forward a workshop to explore a new model for Councillors to represent the region.

Toowoomba Region Mayor Cr Geoff McDonald said the beginning of this new Council term was the right time to review how Councillors engage with the region's diverse population.

"We need to continue to value and understand the uniqueness of our townships and villages throughout the region," Mayor McDonald said.

"The proposed new model which Councillors agreed to examine further today, is aimed at addressing community sentiment on regional representation across the region," he said.

"There are now 11 Councillors covering the same footprint that was served by 68 councillors' pre-amalgamation. Developing a model that ensures everyone feels represented is always going to be challenging.

"Today is the first step in finding a model that will ensure better engagement and access between the community and Councillors."

Mayor McDonald said the next step would be a workshop for councillors to fine-tune the terms of reference for the new process.

Under the new model, Councillors will continue to engage across the whole region, however, Councillors will also be assigned additional areas of interest where they would act as a conduit for residents into Council.

Three zones have been proposed with three councillors to be aligned to each zone for one year. Councillors will then be re-allocated to zones for the next year.

"During the year each Councillor is allocated a zone it is expected that they will visit schools, attend various events and utilise space in Council's service centres to hot desk and meet community members in their zone," Mayor McDonald said.

"This new model is aimed at reinvigorating community-led conversations which will lead to more inclusive decision-making."

The new model is expected to begin following a Councillor workshop to discuss the terms of reference.

The three zones include:

North: Cooyar, Crows Nest, Geham, Goombungee, Haden, Hampton, Pinelands, Ravensbourne, Yarraman, Acland, Biddeston, Bowenville, Jondaryan, Oakey, Mount Tyson, Kulpi, Maclagan, Quinalow, Peranga.

Emerging: Cabarlah, Cambooya, Charlton, Gowrie Junction, Highfields, Hodgson Vale, Kingsthorpe, Kleinton, Meringandan, Meringandan West, Wellcamp, Westbrook, Wyreema.

South: Brookstead, Cecil Plains, Kooroongarra, Millmerran, Millmerran Downs, Millmerran Woods, Cypress Gardens, The Pines, Wattle Ridge, Forest Ridge, Condamine Farms, Pampas, Back Plains, Clifton, Greenmount, East Greenmount, Felton, Nobby, Pilton, Pittsworth, Ramsay, Southbrook.

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