Citizens jury has its final meeting

LAST night the Greater Bendigo Citizens Jury finalised its recommendations on what it wants Bendigo council to spend money on to shape the community’s future. 

The meeting was the final time the 27 community members would sit together.

Not-for-profit research foundation newDemocracy runs the jury which was formed to reflect the diversity of Bendigo’s community.

Wendy Brennan and Michael Senquanwang said they had enjoyed their time in the jury’s six sessions and felt confident council would take on some of their ideas and recommendations.

“It's been really great working with a diverse group of people from all different backgrounds,” Ms Brennan said.

“We are all able to work together and with people coming from different perspectives it gives us a rich contribution to the discussion. They have been robust sessions.”

Both Ms Brennan and Mr Senquanwang said the applied for the jury to ensure the community’s voices were heard.

“We are community members, so we should be a part of the process and let the council hear our voices. They need to listen to us and hear what our priorities are,” Mr Senquanwang  said.

“Some of our ideas will make the city more livable and more outstanding to other cities.”

Some of our ideas will make the city more livable. - Michael Senquanwang

Members of the jury have also been able to develop a better understanding of how council works from the inside.

“What I’ve realised is councils no longer just worry about rates, roads and rubbish,” Ms Brennan said.

“They are so very diverse. I wonder if it is a bit too diverse because there are so many different areas of expectation of the council coming from the community.

“There is a limited amount of finances and resources available, so the community has to prioritise.”

Ms Brennan has lived in Bendigo for 24 years and Mr Senquanwang for nine years.

“If they form another citizens jury then I would recommend people apply,”  Mr Senquanwang said.

“It's very fruitful. There have been some very good, bright ideas coming from our jury.”

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