Six development committees gone

SIX of 10 community development committees (CDC) across the Tamworth region have been disbanded.
Nanjing Night Net

The Calala, Attunga, Hanging Rock, Bendemeer, Barraba and Woolbrook CDCs have been dissolved, because the council has changed the way it engages with the community and the committees are no longer considered the primary way of doing so.

Some residents also felt the committees were not representative of them, according to a report tabled to the most recent Tamworth Regional Council meeting, and recently-introduced provisions aimed at ensuring all residents had representation have been ineffective.

The report also said “the information submitted to council by these committees is generally not in alignment with council’s strategic direction”.

Council corporate and governance director Robert Charlesworth said the committees were formed following the 2004 council amalgamation, to maintain the involvement of the various communities in the new local government area, but the council had since gained an understanding of the communities’ expectations.

Mr Charlesworth said the community engagement changes were in line with the council’s community strategic plan, delivery program and annual operational plan.

For many groups there would effectively be little change, he said, but they would no longer operate as council committees, and the council would engage with all community groups.

He said the four remaining community development committees at Nundle, Kootingal, Moonbi and Manilla were retained for the time being, because they were structured differently in terms of the functions of council they held, but would be subject to review.

The 10 committees are among 45 Section 355 committees, groups to which the council delegates some functions, such as managing facilities.

Council general manager Paul Bennett told the council meeting Section 355 committees that worked well had a clear mandate and were “not trying to be all things to all people”, but when the CDCs were established many had a very broad scope.

Mr Bennett said committees that ran alongside the council and delivered what it mandated were needed.

Bendemeer CDC chairman Nik Roudenko said he was not opposed in principle to the disbanding of the committees if they were ineffective, but was annoyed at the poor communication between the council and the committee.

He and other members of the committee attended the council meeting and said they left exasperated and unhappy.

“It’s not the disbandment so much, I think it’s the feeling of ‘are we being listened to?’” Mr Roudenko said.

He said while there might have been residents dissatisfied with the committee, they did not approach the committee itself and instead took their complaints straight to the council.

He said the council did not then consult with the committee about potential problems and how they could be addressed.

While Mr Roudenko said the committee also should have improved its communication, the council had failed to involve itself properly with the committee.

Nik Roudenko

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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