Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 5074 ..
MR CORNWELL (continuing):
It is all very well for Mr Hargreaves to stand up and give a pre-election spiel about how good things are around the place and make some promises about the duplication of various roads-in his electorate, I hasten to add-as that is part of the whole political process, but the truth of the matter is that they are simply promises. If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride. I appreciate Mr Hargreaves' remarks in this debate. They have gone into Hansard. We will check them very carefully when it comes to the next election. I hope that Mr Hargreaves will carefully note some of the things that I have said, particularly in relation to certain matters that have not yet been taken up in expenditure relating to roads, the disgraceful waste of water and, most importantly, the absolute neglect of the graffiti abuses that are going on in this city thanks to his government's inaction.
MS TUCKER (11.33): I think I will talk a little bit more generally about community development to begin with in this debate because I think it is certainly relevant. I will read from a paper by Peter Cooper on community development just to start off with because I think it is a good summary of our understanding of what community development is about.
Community development has many interpretations and definitions both as a concept and as a practice. Generally it is a term that is used to describe how departments and agencies engage with communities to enhance the wellbeing of residents. Community development is often seen to be about the social wellbeing of communities but in its broadest context CD also includes spatial, environmental and economic planning and management.
Perhaps the earliest form of "community development"was the "missionary approach"intent on driving change according to a doctrine of external morals, values and beliefs of institutions such as churches and governments and usually viewing those receiving it as incompetent, inadequate and deficient in the "right"way to live. This often involved forceful intervention and strict control and management as was experienced by Aboriginal communities last century. Some may argue that we have not come very far in practice, however, conceptually, CD has come a long way from this "colonisation of communities"model.
There is a great deal of literature on the concept, method and practice of "community development". This has evolved through influence by a broad range of ideas such as economic rationalist ideology that would have a focus on economic outcomes, "systems theory"that would have a focus on policy, infrastructure and structures and systems of delivery of services; and social theory with ideas of justice, equity and participation.
This has resulted in concepts of CD that recognises strengths of individuals and groups in the community and aims to develop "community capacity". "The strengths perspective ... posits that the strengths and resources of people and their environment rather than their problems and pathologies should be the central focus of the helping process ... and is rooted in the belief that people can continue to grow and change and should have equal access to resources."
Encapsulated in recent concepts of CD are ideas of resilience and sustainability, a move away from social control to ideas of working with communities rather than working "on"communities. This acknowledges the power of institutions such as governments, government departments and agencies to set and control the agenda through language, categorisation of "problems"and their own particular policies.