For nine councillors to adequately serve the interests of 13,040 people dispersed over an area only just smaller than Tasmania, we will require some solid and creative community engagement strategies. I advocate a small network of advisory boards, each with broad community membership, to assist the council to represent the needs of an expansive and diverse region. This model has been successfully employed in New Zealand and I am proposing that each of the former council areas will have a Board in their main towns if supported locally.
The proposed advisory boards would require council representation at meetings so that minutes could be taken back for further action and information. To support remote residents I have asked AgForce to consider forming an advisory board partnership with Council. I have also indicated my intention to allow a regional chamber of commerce to give regional business direct access to Council and to help work through some of our planning and growth issues.
Community consultation through the network of advisory boards as well as traditional consultation and an open door policy will help mitigate the double tyranny of reduced councillor numbers in larger council regions.