A NEW leadership program has been launched in Bendigo to encourage community members to have a say in the future direction of the city.
The Victorian government provided $30,000 to help with the concept, called “Bendigo- A Thinking Community”, which organisers say is about “getting people to think outside the square”.
A committee will select 50 potential leaders from Bendigo and invite them to four educational workshops in the next year.
They will engage another 10 members of the community via social networking to extend the program further into the community.
Organising committee member Ian McBurney said it was not about influencing the City of Greater Bendigo council’s decisions today, but looking at long-term strategies for the city.
“The current Bendigo is the product of yesterday’s thinking,” he said.
“What we want to do is imagine where Bendigo is going to be in 20 years time and then we can start working towards that.
“Today’s council are quite capable of handling today.
“What we think we need to encourage is longer-term thinking and that will feed into the council’s decisions in the future.”
MLC for Northern Victoria Damian Drum said it would create an “expansive network of thinkers” and would tap into people’s expertise and ideas for the city.
Mr Drum said it would be a chance for community members to put their ideas forward about current issues such as public transport, tourism, city planning and methods to cope with drought and flood. “To have councillors sit down and try to find the solutions to these problems can’t always happen,” he said.
That’s why we’re opening it up. For example, I’m sure there’s people out there that have travelled around the world and have seen other public transport systems and this is their opportunity to have put forward their ideas.
“All of a sudden you end up bringing these ideas forward. This is what we should be doing.”