City of Greater Bendigo releases releases four-year Community Plan

HELD ACCOUNTABLE: The City of Greater Bendigo has released the six pillars of governance on which it will be judged over the next four years.
HELD ACCOUNTABLE: The City of Greater Bendigo has released the six pillars of governance on which it will be judged over the next four years.

The City of Greater Bendigo has released the six pillars of governance on which its councillors will be judged over the next four years.

The six key objectives of the draft 2017-2021 Community Plan are; council will govern for all, wellbeing and fairness, strengthening the economy, presentation and managing growth, environment and sustainability and embracing our culture and heritage. 

“We felt that captured the feedback we’ve had so far,” said Cr O’Rourke, who said the draft budget, and subsequent financial plans would be bound by the community plan.

“It is much smaller (the community plan document) there are so many documents out there (about six or seven) not everyone wants to give feedback on those, they want some consistences,” Cr O’Rourke said. 

Council will measure its efforts to improve livability against 24 livability indicators and the following six goals will guide its decision making and actions.

Mayor Margaret O’Rourke penned a statement to accompany the plan, highlighting the environmental responsibility of the city. 

“Greater Bendigo will also be hotter and drier, so council will need to help put in place processes to conserve energy and resource use,” she said.

Cr O’Rourke said the Community Plan was one of the most important documents council produced.

“As the name implies, this is council’s plan for the community. It outlines what council will do on behalf of residents to ensure Greater Bendigo is somewhere they want to live, work and play,” Cr O’Rourke said.

Cr O’Rourke said the plan had been written by councillors, all nine of which had taken it “very seriously, and very personally”.

“This council has been very strong on listening and talking with community members and using a range of engagement methods, including social media, attending community events, markets and public gatherings, letter writing and telephone conversations.

A survey was completed by 536 people, more than 95 per cent of which completed it online.

Cr O’Rourke encouraged residents to take the time to read the plan to make sure they have been heard and are happy with councils direction. 

Fifty priorities have been whittled down to six during the initial consultation process, which involved two public forums at Ulumbarra Theatre.

The plan will be publicly exhibited, and open to feedback, from April 22 to May 19, with council set to adopt the plan on June 21.

According to Cr O’Rourke, the councillors have endorsed all the recommendations of the citizens jury. 

More info: https://www.bendigo.vic.gov.au/About/Community-plan.

The plan at a glance:

Vision: Greater Bendigo - creating the world’s most liveable community

Goal 1: Council will lead and govern for all

Effective community engagement guides well informed decision-making and financially responsible resource allocations and processes that are transparent and accountable.

Objectives

1.1 Council will engage with all communities

How will we do this

Encourage individual participation by citizens in the development of new strategies and policies.

Meet with community members in their local settings more often.

1.2 Council will explain the reason for its decisions.

How will we do this

Communication will be community-focused using plain language.

Use different engagement techniques.

Document and communicate in a consistent common style.

1.3 Council will be innovative and financially responsible.

How will we do this

Advocate on priority issues including public transport, regional development, planning for liveable communities and population growth.

Ensure value for investment on behalf of the community.

Actively seek more funding opportunities from Federal, State and private investors.

1.4 Council will be accountable and efficient in its use of the community’s money.

How will we do this

Allocate resources to meet needs that strengthen communities and improve the quality of people’s lives.

Develop our staff and systems to deliver the best outcomes for our community.

1.5 Take a leadership role in regional advocacy and work in partnership with regional councils.

How will we do this

Advocate on priority issues that may impact the region.

Use existing networks and other opportunities to maintain strong partnerships with other municipalities.

Goal 2: Wellbeing and fairness

Inclusive policies, partnerships and projects that improve learning opportunities and health. Increasing access and building better connections and quality of life for all.

Objectives

2.1 Create a much healthier Greater Bendigo

How will we do this

Implement the Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan.

Contribute to health policy development.

Plan for fairer health outcomes.

2.2 Promote positive wellbeing across the Greater Bendigo community

How will we do this

Prioritise efforts to promote physical and mental wellbeing.

Design places that can create better health outcomes.

Build on partnerships with health and other agencies.

2.3 Promote community connection

How will we do this

Support the development and implementation of local community plans.

Partner to encourage opportunities that enable community access and inclusion.

Ensure there are facilities that enable people to come together for social and learning purposes and to have fun.

2.4 Support positive learning and development for residents of all ages and abilities

How will we do this

Continue to promote a child-friendly municipality.

Partner to build connections for young people.

Support positive ageing.

Support positive life opportunities for people living with a disability.

2.5 Create proud and safe public places and commercial areas

How will we do this

Strengthen public safety.

Strengthen community resilience.

Maintain the attractiveness and cleanliness of public places.

Goal 3: Strengthening the economy

Advocacy, innovation and support to grow jobs and diversify the local and regional economy.

Objectives

3.1 Support local businesses and industry to be strong and vibrant

How will we do this

Support local business and purchasing programs.

Work with small towns and commercial activity, and community centre to retain their attraction and economic sustainability.

3.2 Make it easier for people to transition from education to employment

How will we do this

Extend opportunities for stronger links between industry and learning providers.

3.3 Ensure Greater Bendigo is a welcoming place for new businesses and industries and supports creativity and innovation

How will we do this

Promote a culture of enterprise.

Support collaborative partnerships for tourism growth.

Expand existing and emerging industries.

Attract and support creative industries.

Take advantage of technology for community benefit.

3.4 Support the transition to a low carbon economy

How will we do this

Implement agreed actions in the Greater Bendigo Environment Strategy.

Goal 4: Presentation and managing growth

Plans, developments and infrastructure that increase our liveability and pride in where we live.

Objectives

4.1 Place for a growing population

How will we do this

Complete adopted major projects.

Optimise the use of Development Contributions Plans.

Complete agreed structure and township plans.

4.2 Plan to meet future housing needs

How will we do this

Implement agreed actions in the Greater Bendigo Environment Strategy.

Protect our bushland areas and the interface between public and private land.

Advocate for increased access to social and affordable housing.

Plan for more environmentally sustainable housing.

4.3 Continue to implement strategies that increase the capacity of transport networks to better move people and goods and foster behaviour change that increases walking, cycling and use of public transport.

How will we do this

Use fairness of access as a basis for developments of new walking, cycling and transport infrastructure.

Advocate for improved transport connectivity.

Build local knowledge about use of sustainable transport options.

4.4 Keep Greater Bendigo attractive with good quality public facilities and places

How will we do this

Maintain essential buildings.

Ensure open spaces are accessible and fit for purpose.

Goal 5: Environment and sustainability

Protect and enhance our environment, conserve resources, reduce waste and the impact of climate change

Objectives

5.1 Work to connect the health of the natural environment to the health and prosperity of our community.

How will we do this

Pursue partnerships to implement prioritised actions contained in the City of Greater Bendigo Environment Strategy 2016-2021 drawing on the One Planet Living framework, including:

Zero carbon,

Zero waste

Sustainable transport

Sustainable buildings and materials

Local and sustainable food

Sustainable water

Thriving landscapes and ecosystems

Culture and community

Health and happiness

Equity and sustainable economy

Goal 6: Embracing our culture and heritage

Recognise and celebrate our unique history and diverse cultures

Objectives

6.1 Celebrate our unique heritage

How will we do this

Value local area streetscapes and character to increase pride, appearance and function.

Stimulate re-purposing of heritage buildings for contemporary use and increased sustainability.

Promote connection with and celebration of, our unique places, people, organisations and memories.

Recognise and celebrate our significant national and international heritage.

6.2 Build pride in and shared responsibility for our public spaces

How will we do this

Protect our bushland and the interface between public and private land.

Protect and advocate to retain the landscapes we value.

Increase urban shade and protect significant and heritage trees.

6.3 Offer and support a diverse range of events that attract and connect people

How will we do this

Ensure that there are accessible and affordable events.

Build on the successes of the attractions and profile of the Bendigo Art Gallery.

Grow and nurture our contemporary music sector.

Attract state and nationally recognised arts and cultural experiences in public spaces and buildings.

Support and nurture fair and sustainable access for local community-based arts and cultural organisations.

Encourage community arts and enterprise.

6.4 Embrace diversity

How will we do this

Implement the Cultural Diversity Action Plan to promote and support inclusion.

Acknowledge publicly significant dates on our calendar that reflect and promote diversity.