Last changed: 17 Sep 2014 at 11:49 PM
Communities and Local Government Working Together
A climate of mutual respect and understanding between community and Local Government can be achievable. Community members may not fully understand the role and functions of Local Government which can lead to expectations of their Council that are unrealistic, demanding and subjective leading to a feeling of disengagement and disenchantment for the ratepayer. A clear understanding of what Local Governments so and how they work is an important process to enable closer relationships and partnerships to be developed. The goal is to embrace a future together.
Local Government contributes greatly to the health of the nation and this can often be unrecognised. The quality of our community life is important because we derive physical, mental, spiritual and emotional sustenance from our involvement with others – a healthy community can provide for the basic needs of its citizens.
What type of community do we want to live in? All future strategies should be chosen based on the fundamental aim of living in the best community achievable. Every community must work out its own solutions because no one community is the same. This is where the relevance of Local Government lays - it is the Government closest to its people. Economic, environmental and social sectors are integrated together in harmony to create a high quality of life for all residents. There could be considered 4 key elements to a strong united community – wide community participation, multi-sectoral partnerships, healthy public policy and Government commitment.
There are many different ways community members can interact with each other to exchange information about needs and resources, become engaged in planning and decision making processes and generally work together to achieve common goals.
One of my aims if an Alderman is to see Clarence beautified. What better way to unite a community! Planting trees and shrubs, learning and sharing with others at a conference, a seminar, a business networking event, coaching youth sports or sitting on a municipal advisory committee – we don’t have one – well there’s another one of my aims!
Problems in a community such as unemployment, substance abuse, poverty, inadequate housing or pollution can be confronted if it is ensured that capacities and resources are used effectively and prudently.
If the relationship between community members and their Local Government is strengthened then it will no longer be a case of “us” versus “them” and through greater understanding, sharing of responsibilities, increased accountability and collaborative activities “us” and “them” become integrated into “we”.