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Council commits to key community engagement partnership

Working hand-in-hand with the Sunshine Coast community on local government decision-making processes was reinforced as a key priority as Sunshine Coast Council today (25 March) adopted a renewed Community Engagement Policy and Community Engagement: Excellence in Engagement Framework at its March Ordinary Meeting.

The new approach frames the ways council will work in partnership with the community to co-create a region that is inclusive, connected and where opportunities are available to all.

Sunshine Coast Council Community Portfolio Councillor David Law said the policy and framework reaffirmed council’s commitment to genuinely engage with our community.

“Through this renewed policy and our Sunshine Coast Community Strategy 2019-2041, we are committed to our community’s meaningful and tangible input into the decisions that affect them,” Cr Law said.

“Our community has told us that they want to see council be more visible in our community, and to provide diverse ways to engage. This refreshed policy and framework provide the approach to meet this demand, which includes ensuring our engagement is authentic, meaningful and fit for purpose.”

“I am looking forward to seeing the partnership between council and community strengthened through the implementation of the policy and framework because together we thrive.”

The Community Engagement Policy and Framework have been developed to set a clear and effective approach for council when engaging with our community on matters which are important to them, and to our region.

They are underpinned by five principles, where engagement is inclusive, innovative, well-planned, collaborative and transparent. To deliver on this approach, council will soon be launching a new online community engagement platform to provide an effective and contemporary tool for the community to have their say.

Engagement for upcoming council projects will be tailored specifically to meet the needs of each scenario. Engagement methods may include conversation cafes and circles; forums; focus groups; interactive mobile apps and online tools; public displays; surveys; tours; and webinars.

An example of an effective collaborative engagement model has been demonstrated through the Sunshine Coast Council and the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) Regional Partnership Agreement, which seeks to advance the region’s community, environmental and economic interests.

The agreement is a commitment from both parties to work collaboratively on key research and engagement projects that will achieve measurable and sustainable outcomes for the Sunshine Coast, with a particular focus on strategic priorities of mutual interests such as the excellence in engagement project. Council and USC worked collaboratively in the review of the Community Engagement Policy and Framework.

Council has undertaken many community engagement processes recently, including Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy, Create Caloundra, the Domestic Animal Management Plan and a Community Survey. Development of our region’s Community Strategy was awarded the 2020 Planning Institute of Australia Queensland Awards for Planning Excellence in recognition of its innovative community engagement program and the strong partnership between council and the community.

For more information visit https://haveyoursay.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/community-engagement-policy-and-overview

Image: Council today endorsed a renewed Community Engagement Policy and Community Engagement: Excellence in Engagement Framework at its March Ordinary Meeting.

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