National awards for public participation

Article image - National awards for public participation CEO, City of Greater Geraldton, Ken Diehm, and Andrea Selvey, Director Creative Communities.

The City of Greater Geraldton has won three major awards at the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) Australasia’s 2014 Core Values Awards ceremony in Sydney for Australasian ‘Project of the Year’, ‘Best Planning Project’ in Australasia and ‘Best Research Project’ in Australasia.

Surpassing a number of State Government agencies and capital cities in receiving the top awards honours, Geraldton’s progressive approach was highly acknowledged at the ceremony.

With a strong background in social engagement, the City of Greater Geraldton has taken a revolutionary approach by undertaking a major review of its Capital Works Program, Range and Level of Services with over 60 community members.

Often referred to as citizen’s juries or community panels, the deliberative democracy process is about public participation and allowing the community to drive decision-making.

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

Every Saturday over 60 community members from a diverse cross section of the Geraldton community gave their time to scrutinise, question, listen to, review and record the City’s programs, projects and services.

It took 12 weeks to come to a collective conclusion.

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

“But that’s old thinking.

“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.”

The City of Greater Geraldton has committed to finding ways of bringing residents into decision making and with this project it’s evident that we’re leading the way across all levels of Government in Australia,” he said.