Friday, 15 May 2009

Consultation...it can and does happen


In Victoria, local government elections are held every four years.  The last local govt elections were held on Saturday 29 November 2008
The information below is from the Local Government Victoria website.  
Each council is required to prepare and adopt a Council Plan by 30 June in the year following a general election (general elections will be conducted in November every four year from 2008). In some cases the Minister for Local Government may extend the period within which a council may adopt its Council Plan.
A Council plan includes:
  • The strategic objectives of the council
  • Strategies for achieving those objectives over the next four years
  • A Strategic Resource Plan
  • Strategic indicators for monitoring the achievement of the objectives

Before adopting its Council Plan, a council must give public notice of its intention to adopt the plan and invite public submissions. Members of the public may make written submissions within 14 days of the notice and, if they so desire, request to be heard in support of their submission. 

A council may review and update its Council Plan at any time, following the same process as for the original plan. At least once every year a council must consider whether the Council Plan requires any adjustment in respect to the remaining period of the plan. If a Council Plan is to be adjusted, the adjustments must also be subject to the public consultation process.

The busy Carol McDonough from Castlemaine has alerted me to a piece she has written on the Mount Alexander Sustainability Group website.  Mount Alexander Shire is the local authority which includes Castlemaine

MASG and Council Plan 
The Mt. Alexander Shire Council has just released its 5 Year Council Plan for public comment. MASG will be reviewing the plan and making a submission on how it stacks up with the council commitment to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions in this Shire. We could encourage as many of our members as possible to review the plan and put in a submission and will provide some advice in the next e-news for those who wish to do so. Submissions are due by 5pm 29 May 2009 .For more details of how to submit see http://www.mountalexander.vic.gov.au/ or to download the draft plan http://www.mountalexander.vic.gov.au/Page/Page.asp?Page_Id=365&h=0

HEPBURN SHIRE COUNCIL
Carol has also directed me to Hepburn Shire Council and its consultation process so I have been poking around the HSC website - and it is true, Carol.  They are really keen on consultation - including having a meeting in Melbourne to cope with the weekenders who are in Melbourne during the week.

Click to enlarge & open in new tab

Above is the public advertisement.  Sorry if you have only just discovered it because the consultation period has closed.  However, I just want to draw attention to the process that Hepburn chose for itself:

Council is required to as a minimum, place the Draft Council Plan on public exhibition for 28 days and accept submissions in accordance with Sections 125 and 223 of the Act. 

It is recommended however that Council engage in a much more comprehensive public consultation process to ensure that a wider range of residents and ratepayers are aware of the Draft Council Plan and have the opportunity to discuss the Draft Council Plan with Councillors and to provide feedback and possibly submissions on the objectives and strategies of Council for the next four years.

It is proposed that Council place the Draft Council Plan on exhibition for the period from Thursday 2 April 2009 until Wednesday 6 May 2009. During this time it is suggested that Council undertake a public information session in each of the five wards and one in metropolitan Melbourne to ensure that residents and ratepayers are provided with ample opportunity to discuss the contents of the Council Plan with Councillors in person. It is also proposed that Council attend various community group meetings during this exhibition period to present the Draft Council Plan.

In the Draft Council Plan, Council is making four fundamental commitments to the Community:

1. We will deliver good governance to the Hepburn Shire.

2. We will help improve economic prosperity.

3. We will assist our residents improve the health, safety and vibrancy of our communities.

4. We will guide our Shire towards environmental sustainability.

Oh, that the Victorian State Government would take a leaf out of Hepburn's book.


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