Strategic Reference Groups up and running
Inner West Council’s eight Strategic Reference Groups (SRG) have all now met for the first time, providing feedback, guidance and recommendations to Council on specific issues such as Council’s Statement of Vision and Priorities, and Inclusion Action Plan.
The SRGs - Economic Development, Environment, Housing and Affordability, Planning and Heritage, Social Inclusion, Transport, Youth Leadership, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander – span a range of key areas which are integral to the running of a new, modern, local council.
They will contribute valuable local knowledge regarding community impacts, emerging trends, opportunities and service gaps to Council.
Council invited interested residents to submit expressions of interest late last year. Applicants needed to meet selection criteria based on skills, interest and experience relevant to the focus of the Reference Group. Members of relevant community organisations were also eligible to apply.
Jacqueline Buswell applied to join the Housing and Affordability Strategic Reference Group, “because I’m horrified at the price of rental housing,” she said.
“I live in a housing cooperative, and I think it’s a very good model. In a cooperative you get a lot more support than say a strata arrangement. I would like cooperatives to be more readily available to people. Council might find ways to create more awareness and encourage this option.
“The first meeting was very good - very informative. Time will tell if we make a difference. I certainly hope so,” Jacqueline said.
Gisele Mesnage is a member of the Social Inclusion SRG, which met for the first time in early February in Ashfield.
“I like to be part of the solution,” Gisele said. “My primary interest is as a person with a disability [vision impairment],” she said. “I am particularly concerned with digital accessibility, which is an area that has been neglected.
“Being in the group gives me the opportunity to raise this issue and to advance the discussion and advance ideas. I was impressed by the number of people who came to the first meeting, and the level of the discussion. I’m hopeful that such a good mix of people will achieve change.”
Administrator Richard Pearson said Council is committed to local democracy and community engagement, and ensuring the community has a say in decisions affecting the local area.
“If we want to build effective policies and work programs it’s vital that we engage with our local community and gather a range of views that reflect the diversity of our community,” he said.
“A key part of that is setting up these new Reference Groups across important social, economic and environmental strategic areas.
“The Groups will give the community an important platform to be part of building a stronger local community where they want to live, work and do business,” he said.
For more on the SRGs: Strategic Reference Groups
For print quality images of an SRG, contact the Communication team.