Civic Voice (CV) in the NSW Central Coast – Wyong-Gosford region – is really doing something about deliberative democracy/community-based policymaking, as is the Gippsland Women’s Local Government Association (GWLGA) and Ratepayers Victoria Inc. How is democracy and the hope of sustainable development faring in your region?
Starting up in 2005, CV is a non-partisan, non-party political and not-for-profit ‘enabling’ group aiming to promote better governance for meeting local needs: economic, environment and social. It focusses on issues involving ‘grass roots’, ‘local government’ and ‘outer urban area growth’ and are actively involved in the unofficial federal election. So how do they DO this?
“Each candidate is asked if they wish to be interviewed, all to date have said ‘yes’. We use the same cafe, so the owners get to know us (coffee helps). Those who participate – any community rep. – usually about 6 representing different community interests. They can table a document on behalf of their group that they wish to candidate to act upon. A response is requested two weeks before election.
We are sticking to one federal seat, Dobell, and one State seat, Wyong, to date to see how the process works.
In the federal election both Libs and Labour have had 2 interviews, with the same time allowed. The process is kept casual though CV keeps a list of a range of issues and ensure these are mentioned during the interviews. Minutes are kept for record for interest of those participating, not for wider circulation.
A ‘report card’ is issued with a list of documents tabled at the interviews and the responses back from community participants if they were satisfied… A working relationship is being built up with all candidates, and post election issues raised by groups can immediately be followed up by the groups.
The good news is that a good working relationship is being built up with all candidates, and post election issues raised by groups can immediately be followed up by community
Citizen Voice aims to promote better governance at national, state and local levels and better co-ordination and co-operation between levels of government.
Good governance is about leadership and vision – identifying key issues, showing the way in policy development. Good governance is also about effective representation: listening to and engaging with the community to understand its needs and ensuring governments (at all levels) deliver infrastructure and services to meet those needs. Good governance also requires active citizenship…
Citizen Voice was formed to assess and comment upon political parties’ policies and practices in the lead up to State, Federal and local government elections in 2007 and 2008 (local government). Its focus is broadly the Central Coast region in light of the release of the draft Central Coast Regional Strategy (2006), the pending CC Environment Plan (2007/08), CC Employment Plan (2007/08) and (we hope) a yet to be agreed CC Transport Plan.”
For more info contact: Ray Rauscher Ph: 02 4392 3372, email: email@example.com.
The GWLGA in 2006 received a $90,000 Women’s Community Leadership Grant, for a series of workshops to develop the leadership skills of women in the agriculture, fisheries and forestry fields.
Co-founder, Christina Lovison, says the project aims to encourage more women into decision making positions in industry, community and government…
“The major issue confronting many women, no matter which industry, whether it’s community, business, industry, government, is about confidence.”
The GWLA goals sound like deliberative democracy and community-based policymaking in the making:
For more info contact Christina Lovison, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘Community engagement’ have become buzz words at the grassroots/council level. How is it working in your region?