Have Your Say on Community Engagement
November 26, 2020
Colac Otway Shire Council is encouraging residents and ratepayers to have their say on a new draft Community Engagement Policy which will guide the community’s involvement in Council decisions including the development of strategic plans.
Colac Otway Shire Mayor Cr Kate Hanson said Council’s current Community Engagement Policy was adopted in 2013 under the Local Government Act 1989.
“The new Local Government Act 2020 (2020 Act), which has substantial changes in relation to the way in which Council must engage with its community, requires the Council to adopt a Community Engagement Policy on or before 1 March 2021,” Cr Hanson said
“Council already has a strong policy and practices in place. However, the new policy aims to formalise Council’s commitment to the community on the principles and values that guides its community engagement and sets the guidelines for how we consult with our residents, ratepayers and stakeholders.
“Adequate community consultation on this policy is a requirement under the Local Government Act 2020, and essential for Council to meet the expectations of our community.
“Councils must apply their community engagement policy in the development of the Community Vision, Council Plan, Municipal Health & Wellbeing Plan, Financial Plan and Asset Plan.
“Colac Otway Shire Council will also follow this comprehensive policy with other work we do to ensure the community has had every opportunity to be involved.
The Local Government Act 2020 and Colac Otway’s draft Community Engagement Policy contains five principles for community engagement based on the internationally accepted International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) core values.
“These principals cover the type and level of engagement and assists in identifying who Council needs to engage with, depending on the project,” she said.
“For example, we may have a project that impacts a specific group in the community.
“We would provide an opportunity for the general community to be involved in the consultation but make sure there was also targeted engagement with those stakeholders.”
Colac Otway Shire has endorsed the Draft Community Engagement Policy to go on public exhibition for six weeks and is seeking feedback from the community.
The draft policy will be available on Council’s website from Monday – click ‘Have Your Say’ at www.colacotway.vic.gov.au A report on the feedback received will go to Council’s February 2021 meeting for consideration before adoption of a final policy.