Public Participation and Community Engagement: Local Government Sector

Tabled: 10 May 2017

The local government sector is a significant part of the Victorian economy—the state’s 79 local councils employ over 50 000 people, spend around $7 billion on service delivery and $2 billion on infrastructure annually, and manage over $70 billion in public assets.

Councils make decisions about a diverse range of community needs, such as recreational facilities, planning and waste disposal. To cater for these needs, transparent and well-managed public participation can help to better inform local government policies and their translation into effective strategies, programs and projects.

In this audit, we examined the effectiveness of community engagement and participation at the local government level. We looked at public participation at six councils, including a mix of metropolitan, rural and regional councils, as well as Local Government Victoria’s role in supporting councils’ public participation activities.

We assessed public participation as part of the budget process, as an element in the development of council plans, and as an investment decision for each council.

We make three recommendations to all local councils in Victoria and one for the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

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Last updated on 10/05/2017