Real community engagement and consultation is critical – council action and planning must start with conversations with all members of our communities, not at the end of the process.

Community should be engaged in decision making at the start of the process whether it be about expenditure priorities, community planning issues or what local laws we want and need. Meaningful conversations and debate needs to happen on all key decisions.

The YRC Community Engagement Policy specifically states that “the decision to undertake community consultation processes will only be made where there is an opportunity for community to have an impact on the final decision or outcome”. The Healesville Structure Plan is an example of where intensive consultation took place – all voices were heard in determining the future for one of our key towns. And we have a process for this that will intensively involve the community from start to finish.

So I continue to seek real consultation and engagement. I will continue to support practical approaches to consultation, making sure  get out there and speak to the communities of the shire. I support effective use of social media and other ways of asking and hearing to ensure all voices are heard. And I will continue to push for meaningful policy that commits the organisation and all staff to involving the community in decision making.

Authorised by Bruce Argyle, 36 Old Fernshaw Road, Healesville 3777