The South Gippsland Shire Council (SGSC) have revoked policy C65.

This means a resident cannot present a matter of concern to council at meetings.

Instead, they plan to hold community days at various locations on the fourth Wednesday of every month.

I would hope this would be a beneficial opportunity for community engagement, however, it could just be a “talk fest”, allowing council to “tick a box” saying: “We engaged with the community.”

As yet, the council has given no indication that they will be following Section 56 of the Local Government Act, reproduced below:
56 – The community engagement principles.
The following are the community engagement principles:
(a) A community engagement process must have a clearly defined objective and scope.
(b) Participants in community engagement must have access to objective, relevant and timely information to inform their participation.
(c) Participants in community engagement must be representative of the persons and groups affected by the matter that is the subject of the community engagement.
(d) Participants in community engagement are entitled to reasonable support to enable meaningful and informed engagement.
(e) Participants in community engagement are informed of the ways in which the community engagement process will influence council decision-making.

We have been told little of the preparation for these community days. Community engagement should firstly educate the community about upcoming council projects then give them the opportunity to discuss programs or works which may impact them.

Council should also indicate how the community’s involvement is likely to influence council decisions.

Can the prospective council candidates give their position on community engagement? Do they see the need for substantial changes to policies the current administrators have foisted upon us?

Lindsay Love, Leongatha.