The first CGG community panel completes process

It’s a wrap

The first of the City of Greater Geraldton’s two Participatory Budgeting community panels wrapped up on Saturday afternoon.

The community panels are part of the City’s revolutionary #changesCGGcommunity program, which follows on the heels of the internationally awarded 2029 and Beyond Program leading to the adoption of the 2013–2023 Community Strategic Plan.

City Mayor, Ian Carpenter, speaking at the close of the fourth day of deliberations, said the project had surpassed all his expectations.

“I did initially have some reservations about how we were going to put useful measures around something as intangible as community values,” he said.

“However having watched the 30 panellists work together to do this, the outcome has been a revelation.”

Mr Carpenter said the introduction of Participatory Budgeting efficiently progressed Council’s wish to engage the community in decision making at all levels.

“People who live in this community have a great deal of knowledge to contribute to making Greater Geraldton a great place to live,” he said.

“Through the panels, this knowledge can be incorporated into our more traditional decision making which tends to focus on technical or regulatory issues.

“There are many other local governments looking on to see if it’s possible to create a comprehensive ‘score card’ by which capital works and infrastructure priorities are determined.”

During the course of the last four weeks, the Community Panel has developed a list of new criteria that enable Council to factor social and cultural considerations for future planning.

Mr Carpenter said this would enable the development of ten year plans that would lead to more integrated planning creating efficiencies.

“I don’t think people are aware of the enormity of what is really happening here,” he said.

“Participatory budgeting is something that many people have thought could not happen, and some people think shouldn’t happen,”

“But that’s old thinking. The City of Greater Geraldton has committed to finding ways of bringing residents into the decision making and with this project it’s evident that we’re making headway.”