The Clarence community has a right to have an elected Council making decisions on behalf, and in the best interests of, the community. Good decision making requires good quality information to assist and inform that decision making. We need the principles of consultation/engagement embraced.
Community consultation/engagement is a process, not an outcome or solution which, if applied should assist our Council in well-balanced decision making outcomes. It’s about involving others in decision making and should not be seen as threatening to the staff or elected members!
From the community perspective timely and well planned community engagement provides our community the opportunity to have a say about what is happening or what might be planned in their community.
It is considered that good quality community consultation/engagement would assist to manage community expectations by identifying and addressing potential and existing concerns early and bring the community with the Council rather than leave the community out of the loop!
If the experience of the community is that we only get asked for our perspective and feedback when the Council are obviously on the brink of doing what they are seemingly already planning, we are only going to have one of two reactions:
- “Why bother” – it's disingenuous and not sincere so we won't bother participating in this or future consultations.
- It builds a greater sense of negative reaction and a strong sense of concern or opposition – so you get people who feel they need to be really loud to shift or deter an organisation from making the decision that they see as a fait accompli.
Community engagement/consultation is a continuous process that provides our residents, other key stakeholders and the greater Clarence community with opportunity to have a say in what happens in our city.
It allows people to be more active in the Council’s decision making process, to get involved and give feedback on matters that have an impact on their lives.
It’s about making sure that our community can participate in lots of different ways to make Clarence a better place to live, work, visit, study and play in.