Mayor’s Desk

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - by Cr Rachel Cham­bers

, When I first put up my hand to be elected I had some­one who had long been in the game give me some ad­vice. They ad­vised me to never apol­o­gise as it would in­di­cate weak­ness. Ap­par­ently it’s not what politi­cians do. I told them there and then that I wasn’t a fan of this ap­proach and that I felt all peo­ple re­gard­less of their po­si­tions needed to apol­o­gise when they get it wrong. If that makes me a bad politi­cian, so be it. There are some things in coun­cil I’m ex­tremely proud of and there are some things that need lots of work, com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion falls into the lat­ter cat­e­gory. For all the de­sire we have to in­clude com­mu­nity in our de­ci­sion mak­ing, we haven’t done well in this space. In my ex­pe­ri­ence the best way to start afresh is to apol­o­gise and then try to rec­tify the sit­u­a­tion from then on. So that is what I’m do­ing. To all the in­di­vid­u­als, staff and com­mu­nity who feel we haven’t in­formed them of is­sues which af­fected them, who would have liked to have been in­volved in de­ci­sion mak­ing or who have felt they didn’t un­der­stand the process of be­ing heard I’m sorry. I’m sorry we haven’t got it right…yet. Con­sul­ta­tion is hard. On what is­sues do we go to com­mu­nity and what is­sues do we make a de­ci­sion on the facts at hand? How many peo­ple’s opin­ion con­sti­tutes an ap­pro­pri­ate con­sul­ta­tion? How do we get to the stake­hold­ers? Do we gather in town halls, use print me­dia, so­cial me­dia or hold in­di­vid­ual on­site meet­ings? Who does the con­sul­ta­tion, staff, coun­cil­lors or do we em­ploy an ex­ter­nal con­sul­tant for trans­parency? Do we use the con­sul­ta­tion to give in­for­ma­tion to the com­mu­nity, to re­ceive in­for­ma­tion or is it a mix­ture of both? Con­sul­ta­tion cer­tainly isn’t straight for­ward but it is some­thing we need to de­velop. We are cur­rently re­view­ing our own pro­cesses but I’d love to hear from you if you have any sug­ges­tions as to how we could im­prove into the fu­ture. Talk soon, Rachel.

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