This report explores the role of citizens' committees in Australian local government decision-making processes. The report will be a useful resource for councils looking to enhance the effectiveness of community committees.
Committee types include both council-appointed committees, and incorporated non-for-profit organisations.
The study explored the role and future of citizens' committees as vehicles for sustained community engagement, and how their function might be strengthened in view of Australian and international research. The research highlights the importance of integrating citizen committees into community governance approaches to ensure their democratic potential is realised, and the valuable role well-managed and adequately resourced citizen committees can play in local governance.
The research was an ACELG Research Partnership Scheme project with partners: the newDemocracy Foundation; Victorian councils Wyndham City Council, Nillumbik Shire Council, Surf Coast Shire Council; the Municipal Association of Victoria, and; the Victorian Local Governance Association.
The report includes a review of current literature on the topic, three case studies from Australian councils, and suggested avenues for further investigation.
Authors: This report was prepared by Dr Annie Bolitho, Associate of the UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures, with assistance from Dr Carolyn Hendriks from the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University.