Former Premiers praise Lismore's imagination
FORMER premiers Geoff Gallop and Nick Greiner have written to Lismore City Council praising the 'Imagine Lismore' community strategic plan as a model of excellence and best-practice community engagement.
The former politicians are both members of The new Democracy Foundation, an independent, non-partisan research organisation dedicated to democratic reform whose list of members reads like a who's who of Australian political and public life.
The Foundation believes governance underpinned by citizen engagement will help enable quality public decision making that delivers what communities want.
"(Imagine Lismore) is exactly the type of innovation that The newDemocracy Foundation applauds," the former Premiers wrote in a letter to Lismore mayor, Jenny Dowell.
"A lot of traditional consultation gives interest groups a small amount of time to shout louder than the lobby group next to them.
"The broader community can tend to look wearily at this type of consultation.
"You clearly understand that and have designed an innovative and robust engagement process that has genuine merit."
Lismore City Council formulated the 'Imagine Lismore' community strategic plan to find out what people would like the regional centre and its villages to look like into the future.
This process started with a community-wide survey to gauge community wants and needs - information that was then given to a randomly selected and demographically representative 'citizens' jury' to create a vision and values statement.
The council is currently in the midst of six place-based forums at locations around the electorate, once again with randomly selected participants, to further develop the vision of the jury. The resulting draft strategic plan will be exhibited for public comment.
The final plan adopted through this process in 2013 will help guide the council's decisions over the next decade in all aspects of community life; business and employment, services and infrastructure, arts and culture, sports, the environment, and social well being.
For more about Imagine Lismore, visit the council's website.