Page 4057 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 17 November 2015

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What did they do? They conducted some surveys, which they promoted through their mailing list, their website, their Facebook page, their Twitter accounts, as well as in their regular column in the Chronicle and at local events. They did all of this outreach over two months. They got 232 responses, which is probably 200 more than they would have got if they had just held a meeting. It was still only 232 responses, but at least it helped form the basis for a more representative survey report to government.

More generally, the Belconnen Community Council have recognised the need to raise their profile in the community and to not just liaise with the community through public meetings that are often attended by a very small number, as we have all heard, of very dedicated people. Meetings may be held at times that most people cannot attend or in venues that some people are not comfortable attending. Ms Lawder talked about the Southern Cross Club in Tuggeranong. It is a great venue, but there are some people who do not like to attend meetings in gambling venues. There are some people who hold that view, so they will not attend.

Opposition members interjecting—

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Order, Mr Hanson and Mr Coe!

MR BARR: It is a simple statement of fact: some people do not like going to clubs, and they will not go to meetings there. It is as simple as that. More generally, the Belconnen Community Council have recognised this and have sought to increase their liaison with the community outside of just holding public meetings. They have sponsored and held stalls at parties at the shops in Scullin and the Charny Carny. They have sponsored the Hawker fete and partnered with Westfield Belconnen to host a photographic exhibition of Belconnen and judging of an arts competition. They have increased their presence and engagement through social media.

The Belconnen Community Council has also made strong representations by participating in key forums and providing numerous community submissions on issues of local concern. Recent examples include hosting a forum with the Belconnen Community Service on the impact to the Belconnen town centre if the department of immigration leaves Belconnen. It has met with the University of Canberra vice-chancellor on the future of the university and the connections to be made between the University of Canberra and the town centre.

The council have provided a submission on the proposed smart parking trial, and are one of only two councils to engage on this important initiative. They participated in a forum held by the planning minister on the statement of planning intent, and then subsequently hosted their own forum. The Belconnen Community Council’s work online and on the ground shows how community councils can be effective, constructive and influential.

Mr Hanson interjecting—


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