How do I comment or make a submission?

You can make a submission about the draft strategy and policy currently on exhibition by:

Submissions must be received by Wingecarribee Shire Council before 4.30pm Monday 14 July 2014.

How will my comments or suggestions be used?

All submissions, comments and suggestions will be recorded and considered by the project team. Some adjustments may be made to the draft documents where appropriate. Submissions will then be included in a report to Council when final endorsement of the Strategy and Policy is sought, so Councillors can see how the community has responded.

What is 'community engagement'?

Council's definition of community engagement is based on the United Nations Declaration on Community Engagement (2005). 

We define 'community engagement' as a two-way process of dialogue by which the aspirations, concerns, needs and values of our local community and other relevant stakeholders are incorporated into policy development, planning, decision-making, service delivery and assessment. 

Common terms used for community engagement activities include consultation and public participation.

Methods used to undertake community engagement include, but are not limited to, one-to-one conversations, interviews, committee meetings, workshops and surveys (printed, phone and postal). 

We try to provide opportunities for large and small voices from across the Shire to be heard and recorded. We then include a summary of responses in reports to Council so councillors can see what stakeholders have said about a particular proposal.

How does Council notify the community about opportunities to take part in community engagement activities?

Council officers use a range of tools to advise directly affected residents, property owners, businesses, representative groups and the wider community about opportunities to comment on plans, proposals and services.

These commonly include:

  • letters direct to a property owner, business or representative groups
  • phone calls and meetings
  • advertisements in the Southern Highland News
  • media releases issued to radio, television and newspaper
  • posters and flyers in public places and on community noticeboards
  • exhibits or displays in Council buildings such as the Civic Centre and libraries
  • notification to committee members
  • information kiosks
With improvements in technology and increasing numbers of community members using the internet, we may also utilise:
  • emails direct to people who have provided their contact details, for example village associations, chambers of commerce and representative groups
  • emailed newsletters which provide a brief summary of Council services, events and opportunities to be involved in decision making. We currently have over 500 people registered for e-newsletters - register me now
  • emails to registered members of, our online consultation hub, which currently has over 1000 individuals listed - register me now
  • facebook and twitter
Information about other communication tools at our disposal can be found in our fact sheet.

How were the strategy and policy prepared?

We recently worked with a consultant to evaluate our current practices, relationships, messages and long-term goals to prepare a framework for public participation in decision making.

The draft strategy reflects the goals outlined in the Community Strategic Plan 2031+ and the approach taken by our senior management team.

Council had previously adopted a Community Engagement Policy in August 2009 and this was reviewed by the Community Engagement Coordinator, in consultation with our management team, prior to completion of a new draft.

The draft policy and strategy were then prepared for consideration by Councillors at an information session prior to endorsement for public exhibition at the 28 May 2014 Council Meeting.

What is the IAP2 Public Participation Spectrum?

The International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) is an international association which seeks to promote and improve the practice of public participation or community engagement, incorporating individuals, governments, institutions and other entities that affect the public interest throughout the world. 

The IAP2 has developed a Public Participation Spectrum which provides guidance for determining different levels of engagement depending on the issue, and its immediate or long term impact on the community. 

The five levels of engagement outlined in the spectrum are:

Inform: To provide the public with balanced and objective information to assist them in understanding the problem, alternatives, opportunities and/or solutions.

Consult: To obtain public feedback on analysis, alternatives and/or decisions.

Involve: To work directly with the public throughout the process to ensure that public concerns and aspirations are consistently understood and considered.

Collaborate: To partner with the public in each aspect of the decision including the development of alternatives and the identification of the preferred solution.

Empower: To place final decision-making in the hands of the public.

Council officers may work with the community and stakeholders at varying levels of the spectrum throughout the life of a project.