Good governance is about the good processes for making and implementing decisions. Having good processes generally leads to better outcomes for local governments and their communities.

Good Governance Guide (2012) About Good Governance http://www.goodgovernance.org.au/about-good-governance/ accessed 27 Aug 2016

The adage ‘you can’t please all of the people all of the time’ is relevant to local Council. The community in general knows and accepts this.

What the community does NOT accept is a decision making process that is not transparent or inclusive or collaborative or participatory.  The community are stakeholders in Council decisions.  The community do not want decisions made behind closed doors, or decisions made before effective community consultation begins.

Why not make the stakeholders part of the decision making process?  The IAP2 core values set out a framework for community involvement in decision making.

In 2015  Melbourne City Council has successfully used Citizens Juries to establish a financial plan. In Geelong a Citizen’s Jury is being formed to make representations on the formation of a new Council.

In Monash we can seek a model of public participation that is appropriate for the community.

The issue of development in Glen Waverley may well be one of the worst examples of decision making we have seen from Council since the sale of the aged care residences.  Recently Planning Panels Victoria required a second hearing as Council continued to make changes to the residential zones after putting an exhibition to the panel. Confusion reigned over which zone was changed when, to what and had the people been adequately informed. No wonder people in the community appear to be so unsure of what is going on. The impression is that Council made changing decisions for whatever reasons, whether to please the community as the election approaches, to suit particular groups of residents or other reasons is unknown.  We do know the community is overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork it is receiving and how its feedback has affected Council decision making.

At the meeting on 30 August 2016  Monash Council was full of praise for the 1 Beryl Avenue group for the expertise in its submission to Council. While this group deserved praise we need to ask,  ‘How can  many community groups get access to the expertise of this community group?’

We are indeed fortunate to have within our team of volunteers the skills in architecture, planning, journalism and graphic design to present the objections of the community to Council in an equally professional and clear manner as the submissions and plans of the Applicant with all their highly paid advisors and consultants.

Source: 1 Beryl Ave Facebook Group 18 August 2016

Society favours the fortunate but local council is in a position to work toward redressing the balance.  I would like to see a Monash Council that works with the community empowering them to present their case, their story, to Council on an equal footing.  Better still a Monash Council that involves the community in decision making.

 

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Gayle Nicholas Communication appalling in Monash Leader Conversations 24 Nov 2015
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