Draft Community Engagement Strategy

Submissions closing on 16 August 2020, 05:00 PM

Image of a family viewing a document

We’re developing a Community Engagement Strategy and Action Plan to ensure our community can contribute to our decision making processes, and we can’t do it without you.

The Strategy will outline Council’s commitment and approach to community engagement, set a strategic direction and provide increased opportunities for genuine involvement in our decision making.

It will support our staff in undertaking effective community engagement so we can deliver strategies, services, projects and programs that help to build a community we are proud of.

The draft Strategy and Action Plan is on public exhibition until 16 August 2020. Over 200 people participated in consultation activities during April and May 2020 that informed the development of the draft Strategy.

Community engagement is a process of involving people that are affected by or interested in a decision. It enables good governance, problem solving and decisions that are balanced and informed, resulting in better outcomes. It supports an understanding of decisions and builds trust with our community about the decision making process.

Our community is the many different individuals, groups and organisations that have a vested interest in our people and the Cessnock Local Government Area, including:

  • people that live or own a property here
  • people who work or study here
  • people that visit the local area
  • business owners and operators
  • resident and ratepayer associations
  • local Aboriginal networks and community groups
  • community, sporting and environmental groups
  • community agencies that provide services to and/or advocate for people in the local area
  • business and industry associations
  • developers and investors
  • neighbouring councils and regional bodies
  • government agencies
  • local members (state and federal)

The Community Engagement Strategy will outline Council’s commitment and set a strategic direction for community engagement across all its services.

The Community Participation Plan(PDF, 16MB) outlines how the community can get involved in planning matters. It is a requirement of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (Act) and applies only to activities under the Act that are being assessed by Cessnock City Council.

The Community Engagement Strategy will not replace the Community Participation Plan, but may be used to enhance the minimum requirements specified.

We are responsible for making informed and balanced decisions about services and facilities for our community. Whilst there is no one decision making process, the following considerations may be applicable:

  • Legislation
  • Council policies and resolutions
  • Community views
  • Technical and professional advice
  • Budget impacts
  • Social impacts
  • Environmental impacts
  • Economic impacts
  • Population data

No. There are times when the community cannot influence decisions of Council, including where:

  • there is no scope for community input
  • an initiative involves confidential or commercial information
  • there is risk to public health and safety
  • there are legal constraints
  • an immediate resolution is required
  • Council is developing or reviewing internal procedures and protocols  

Submissions are NOT kept confidential. Council releases submissions when a request is made in accordance with Privacy Laws and the relevant provisions under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009. When a submission is released by law, Council routinely withholds contact numbers, email addresses and signatures. Should you wish for all personal details or any information that may identify you to be withheld from the public, please advise Council of this in your submission.