Selective hearing or genuine consultation at Redland City?

Bang the Table consultants website image

At the Redland City Council  meeting on 16 July it was encouraging to hear a number of Councillors mention the need for community consultation on a range of issues. Indeed, one Councillor went as far as acknowledging that better outcomes were achieved through harnessing the talent in the community.

It is hoped that these collective remarks indicate a change in the Council to have a genuine approach to community consultation unlike the sham that was the Toondah Harbour and Weinam Creek PDA exercise. However, there is a difference between selective hearing and genuine consultation.

Redland City’s consultation process for City Plan 2015

We wonder if Redland City’s consultation process for the City Plan 2015, scheduled for July and August, is a step in the right direction. Council has engaged consultants Bang the Table to assist them with managing a tightly controlled consultation process. This features mainly on-line engagement together with some displays and six small group forums. The six forum sessions are limited to one hour each with a maximum number of twenty participants per session. Participants need to book in advance for each session using an online booking system.

Time and actions will tell whether this exercise is truly a move towards a more community conscious Council. Recent State by-elections for the seats of Redcliffe and Stafford should have emphasized the need for politicians to listen to their electors. Maybe it would be better if the Mayor and Councillors listened directly to people in the community instead of engaging consultants to do it for them.

First two City Plan forums postponed

The first three City Plan consultation forums on 24th, 26th and 31st of July are supposed to be for discussion about the Council’s draft Economic Development Strategy. Redlands2030 has already reviewed this document quite critically in our post Redland City’s “cunning plan”.

The Redland City Council website is now advising that the first two sessions (Capalaba 24 July and Cleveland 26 July) have been postponed due to illness. Presumably, there is only one person among the whole of Council’s vast array of elected representatives, staff and consultants who is capable of discussing the draft Economic Development Strategy with the Redlands community. We hope that this totally unique person gets well soon.


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5 thoughts on “Selective hearing or genuine consultation at Redland City?

  1. There is very little point in attending these public consultative meetings. Only what is wanted will be noted . I believe these meeting are only meant to allow those in charge to say :”see we gave the public a chance to have their say”.

  2. Just thought I might offer a comment on this very important and huge process, thanking you for the opportunity

    This initially sounds like a repeat of the ‘same old’ ‘neat and easy’ way of getting ‘results’ from self-selected people called a focus group and consultants who may have only superficial knowlege about the Redlands, and likely have never lived here.?…. Too easy but not inclusive whatsoever unfortuately… There are around 1400,000 people to represent, which is daunting.

    Opinions and information gathering of facts are both important… not just knee-jerk opinions. Perhaps you are already planning mail-outs to take the place of some of the meetings

    The hope of sustaining koalas amongst us in the Redlands is fading with every year, especially being rejected by many who were elected at the last Council election. The koala has been such an easy target by the people who thought the koala was not our responsibility. How very sad. There are so many debates to be had for this plan to cover all aspects in a unified way, so the Redlands can remain beautiful and sustainable, despite its coastal issues including the Bay Islands.

    How do the Councillors ‘listen’? The least the Mayor and Councillors “Council”) could do is send mail outs to all property owners to give everyone an opportunity to input which will be respected, with clear optional maps and plans showing possible zoning changes, followed up with one-on-one meetings with planners (as BCC did in the last town plan). Most people wont come to ‘focus’ meetings, especially in the middle of Winter, and dont want to attend ‘controlled meetings’ by councillors/bureaucrats. Times have not changed in that respect..

    • The former councillor Helen Murray is correct. Everyone needs to know what is planned to go alongside them, in their street, in their neighbourhood. Once the map is painted red for medium density development for instance, it is too late to do anything about it. Many will remember the Aramac Crt Capalaba situation where height restrictions, parking, overshadowing, setbacks, traffic etc hadn’t been thought about: by then it was too late. Councillors should put the maps on the table for their constituents and get them all along to see exactly what is planned for their area so they have a say in how it might affect them.

  3. May I suggest there are TWO ASPECTS to community consultation and it’s importance.

    One is political: to allow currently elected Councillors to hear the views of their own community.
    The other is to allow officers to hear the individual and collective issues raised by members of community and respond to them in accordance with either statutory, or policy requirements of the State Government and/or Local Council.
    BOTH can make subtle and/or significant change.

    However, I’d like to suggest that being ‘informed’ and being ’empowered’ are VERY different ends of the community engagement spectrum…
    There is much more to say…
    Most important is community awareness and intelligence about issues such as these, because they lead to increased capacity to identify existing and emerging themes and make majority voices heard.

    I wish to make it clear that the nationwide trend toward assumptions of ‘electoral mandates’ by elected politicians put much more onus upon community representatives speaking with a clear and commonsense voice about their vision for a better future.

    Best wishes to all who aspire to more sustainable, local economy enabling and resilient city planning outcomes.

    Paul Bishop

    • good comments Paul. I trust Council will actively communicate and listen to the community this time. Recent examples have been less than wonderful. One of your points I would like to comment on is regarding the electoral mandates. Ask Tony Abbott and Campbell Newman how well that is going for them ! Politicians should be conscious that they may be supported by electors merely as a protest vote against the incumbent or on overt public presence (ie. the Laming effect). Don’t presume that one specific policy is supported, especially if you have not articulated all the impacts. Mandates are fickle things – you need to bring the community along with you and the innate logic of the policy.

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