Strathbogie Shire Council

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Community Planning Program review complete

Friday, 19 May, 2017

A review of Strathbogie Shire Council’s Community Planning Program is now complete, with a new management model recently announced which reduces administration for groups, maintains existing funding levels and continues a focus on community-led outcomes.

Community planning is about enabling communities to identify, find solutions and implement projects that address social, environmental, health and wellbeing, infrastructure, cultural and economic goals, issues and opportunities.

At the May Ordinary Meeting, Councillors voted that non-incorporated Community Action Groups should become

‘Community Planning Reference Groups’ (CPRGs).

With the exception of Violet Town Action Group (which is incorporated and therefore have their own operating structure), the seven groups in Avenel, Euroa, Graytown, Longwood, Nagambie, Ruffy and Strathbogie will be guided by a Community Planning Reference Group Charter.

All groups can continue to trade under the moniker of Community Action Group if they wish.

The Community Planning Reference Groups will be community based committees with the responsibility to provide feedback and advice to Council on the following objectives:

Represent the community through a democratic process of open, community planning sessions and the development of a Community Plan.

Implement actions which are identified in the Community Plan which strengthen and develop communities.

Advocate on behalf of the community to other government agencies for appropriate funding for initiatives identified by communities.

Balancing the present and future interests of all Shire residents and visitors.

Funding allocation processes for all groups will remain unchanged for the 2017-18 financial year, with new Community Planning guidelines being introduced to assist with planning, funding and reporting into the future.

Council undertook consultation with all action groups, which raised issues such as confusion over the roles of action groups and Council, excessive red tape and potentially losing funding.

Following a Council briefing, Honeysuckle Creek Ward Councillor Kate Stothers moved the recommendation to start the transition from action groups to CPRGs, being seconded by Mt Wombat Ward Councillor Alistair Thomson.

"We (Council) need to be as flexible as we can to ensure each group is structured," Cr Stothers said.

"We want to also ensure these groups know what their community priorities are."

Cr Thomson said the Community Planning Review was an "in-depth process".

"The Shire is committed to community development," he said.

"Community planning is all about volunteers wanting to undertake important projects for the community, by the community.

"A structure is needed for the groups’ funding going forward but really, the goal is about community planning."

Hughes Creek Ward Councillor Malcolm Little, who chaired the meeting, said Council will meet with action groups individually to start the transition.

"The process moving forward is going well, with action groups understanding what’s involved," he said.

"Our volunteers are valuable people and this is another step towards a successful partnership with these groups moving forward."

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