Sunraysia Daily has recently published two of my letters concerning the Wentworth shire and the council.

I appreciate this because in country areas, without this option it is impossible to communicate with the community.

When I bring to the community’s notice the failure of the council to fulfill its obligations under the Local Government Act, I am highlighting the fact it is not acting in the best interests of its community.

Consequently, the community’s future is at stake because without consultation how can the council recognise its needs?

The council has two primary responsibilities to its citizens.

First is to sustain and improve the infrastructure and services of its community. Managers and staff are well trained to do this and usually do an excellent job.

Second is to show leadership in building the social fabric of the community.

The typical forms of engagement, in a democracy, are council meetings, public hearings, town meetings, town hall meetings, and any variety of speaking engagements and special events they attend.

There is nothing in the current structure of these gatherings, if they occur, that encourages the community to connect or be engaged.

At present, if the council does call a meeting, the community usually doesn’t show up, or if they do, they attend as critics and consumers.

For the shire to build a social fabric and create the context for a restorative community, the form in which the community is involved needs to change from a patriarchal consumer model to a partnership model that takes advantage of the energising power of the small group.

We must seek conversations where people turn up by invitation rather than mandate, and

experience an intimate and authentic relatedness.

Unfortunately, from my experience in dealings with this council, this will never happen while the present councillors remain in power. There must be a change in the culture of the council.

It is also interesting to note that in Friday’s Sunraysia Daily, it is reported the council passed the draft budget with little fanfare, which will be on public display for 28 days.

The general manager, Peter Kozlowski, announced the “ambitious” $40 million budget “was the biggest the council had ever put forward”.

This was achieved without having to waste time carrying out any community consultation.

Unlike the Mildura council, Wentworth has decided not to waste its time visiting towns in the shire to explain the budget.

Need I say any more?

Barrie Brady,


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