Real community engagement and consultation is critical – council action and planning must start with conversations with all members of our communities, not be an afterthought.

We deserve to 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. Simply posting policies and documents on the Council website for comment is not enough – 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 is needed – all voices must be 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 work to influence Council to put in place practical approaches to consultation, making sure officers get out there and speak to the communities of the shire. I will push for regular public meetings that ask for views and solutions. I will push for effective use of social media and other ways of asking and hearing. 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