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Have your say on community engagement policy

Have Your Say on community decisions by visiting the Mount Alexander Shire Council website.

Mount Alexander Shire Council is seeking community feedback on a revised Community Engagement Policy which will give our community a voice in the our shire.

Wednesday 23 December 2020

Mount Alexander Shire Council is seeking community feedback on a revised Community Engagement Policy to guide its decision-making, in line with new legislation.

Community engagement is the process by which Council gathers information to assist with decision making for a range of outcomes such as policies, projects, plans and service delivery that impact the community.

Where members of the community can influence a decision, they are provided with information to form an opinion and an opportunity to provide input through a community engagement process.

The Community Engagement Policy outlines Council’s commitment to genuine community engagement. It aims to provide staff and councillors with a consistent and inclusive approach to community engagement based on best practice principles to inform decision-making.

Under the Local Government Act 2020, Victorian councils are required to have a community engagement policy in place by the 1 March 2021.

Council adopted a revised Community Engagement Policy in March 2020, committing the organisation to a set of principles by which all community engagement will take place.

The draft policy has been updated to apply deliberative community engagement practices as required by the new legislation. This means that Council community engagement must be:

• Representative in the sense that it involves a representative cross-section of the community, with the aim of maximising inclusion
• Deliberative - allowing for extended consideration of a key question, and
• Influential whereby participants will be informed of the level of influence the community engagement process will have on Council decision-making.

The six principles in the updated Community Engagement Policy outlines that community engagement will be transparent, timely and relevant, inclusive, accessible, evaluated and influential, with Council closing the loop on the engagement.

Under the Local Government Act 2020, Council will use deliberative engagement methods in the development of the long-term Community Vision, the four year Council Plan, the Financial Plan and Asset Management Plans.

In keeping with past practices it may also consider deliberative engagement methods for other projects of significant scope, complexity and impact, and will apply a risk lens to help determine the appropriate level of community engagement.

The draft Community Engagement Policy is available to view at the Civic Centre in Castlemaine, Visitor Information Centres in Castlemaine and Maldon and on the Have your Say section of Council’s website.

The community is invited to provide feedback on the draft policy by making a submission or by completing an online survey by 5.00pm on Monday 18 January.

Complete the online survey at www.mountalexander.vic.gov.au/HaveYourSay.

Forward your written submission titled Community Engagement Policy to the Communications and Customer Services Manager, Mount Alexander Shire Council, PO Box 185, Castlemaine 3450 Victoria, or email info@mountalexander.vic.gov.au.

Please outline what you like about the policy and what you would like to see improved, and if you would like to stay informed about Council’s Community Engagement Policy and Engagement Framework.

Council is planning to consider the Community Engagement Policy at the Council Meeting on Tuesday 16 February 2021.

The implementation of the policy will be supported through the development of a new Community Engagement Framework and toolkit to support genuine community engagement.

The policy and toolkit are underpinned by the best practice principles outlined in the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) framework.

The IAP2 Spectrum of Participation defines the level of public participation and the publics’ role in engagement, ranging from inform, consult, involve and collaborate to empower.

For more information about the policy contact Lisa Knight, Director Corporate and Community Services, Mount Alexander Shire Council on 5471 1700.

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