The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) is the peak representative and lobbying body for Victoria’s 79 councils and is the official voice of local government within Victoria.
The MAV has been particularly focused on community engagement and governance to ensure that the community is actively engaged in council decisions. To provide a glimpse of similar projects internationally the MAV organised a workshop convened by Joe Goldman from AmericaSpeaks, an eleven year old non-profit US based organisation that seeks to engage citizens in local democracy.
The workshop covered the usage of technology to improve access to governments and councils as well as the types of workshops and forums that are available to engage the community. It is imperative that the community is engaged from the onset to ensure that decisions can truly be influenced by public opinion rather than merely asking for comment once decisions have been made.
Given the changes that are expected to occur within the Ringwood as part of the Transit Cities program it is impetrative that the community is provided with the opportunity for ongoing discussion and participation regarding the future of Ringwood.
Direct and meaningful community engagement and not just consultation is required to ensure that the community and council alike share a cohesive and strong vision for the future.