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Council adopts new community engagement policy

Mayor Elect, Tony Cordy at a listening post

Council has adopted a new Community Engagement Policy to guide how it will engage with the community and seek their input on key directions.

Thursday 18 February 2021

Mount Alexander Shire Council has adopted a revised Community Engagement Policy to guide how it will engage with the community and meet its obligations under the new Local Government Act.

The policy establishes a clear standard for the exchange of information between Council and the community through a range of methods and to guide decision-making.

Mount Alexander Shire Council Mayor Tony Cordy said Council recognises that involving the community in making plans and decisions is fundamental to good governance.

“Our shire is defined by a highly engaged and passionate community and many individuals, groups and organisations want to be informed, and actively involved in the decisions we make,” said Mayor Cordy.

“We can also make better decisions when we hear from a wide range of voices to help us better understand the needs of our community or those impacted by our decisions.

“The adopted Community Engagement Policy will help us build on the previous work undertaken by Council to consult with the community, and continue to have conversations with residents to help shape our shire.

‘’It will also help ensure meaningful community engagement is embedded into our processes to support decision-making, build relationships, strengthen our communities and seek improvement on how we do things,” he said.

The policy is underpinned by a set of principles to ensure community engagement is transparent, timely and relevant, inclusive, accessible and evaluated, with processes in place to close the loop.

Under the Local Government Act 2020, the Community Engagement Policy must be adopted on or before 1 March 2021. The act also prescribes Councils deliberative engagement principles must be applied when developing strategic documents such as the Community Vision, Council Plan, Financial Plan and Asset Plan.

Implementation of the policy will be supported with the roll out of a new procedure and toolkit for staff and Councillors to help assess the need, scope and level of community engagement and resourcing required.

“We look forward to undertaking extensive community engagement over the next few months to develop our Community Vision and next Council Plan,” said Mayor Cordy.

“Our community can expect to hear from us and get involved in a variety of ways. We’re also investing in a new online platform to provide a more flexible and engaging way for our community to be part of the conversation on matters important to them,” he said.

The community engagement policy was updated following a comprehensive review of policies, new legislation and guidance documents across the sector. It was revised based on feedback received from nine submissions during public consultation in December 2020 to January 2021.

The policy will soon be available in the policies, plans and strategies section and the Council Meeting minutes for 16 February 2021. For more information visit www.mountalexander.vic.gov.au.

Image: Cr Tony Cordy at a community listening post.

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