The ACT Greens will today announce a commitment to deliver Canberra’s first Neighbourhood Democracy package, giving the Canberra community, not just the government, a say in how investments in their neighbourhood are made.
The program will see Canberra residents come together in a series of neighbourhood workshops to collaborate on prioritising local expenditure, with an average annual budget of $100,000 in their suburb.
This could be small-scale park upgrades, new playground equipment, tree planting, employing people to work on a particular project or community-building activities and events.
The Greens plan will build upon the ACT Government’s recent ‘Better Suburbs’ program, initiated as a result of a Greens crossbench motion from Caroline Le Couteur. This saw the first trial of participatory budgeting, where participants decided how a portion of the city services budget should be allocated.
Comments attributable to Emma Davidson, ACT Greens Spokesperson for Democracy:
“The Greens believe that the people who know best about what their neighbourhood needs are the people who live there.”
“What makes this program so effective is not just the individual projects each neighbourhood decides upon, but the way in which they come to a community consensus. Communities will be supported to build skills in understanding the diversity of views in their own neighbourhood, and resolving a range of viewpoints/ opinions constructively. This program will build stronger, more resilient communities.”
“The ACT Greens share the community’s desire to have more of a say in their neighbourhoods. We want to support a deeper, more participatory democracy. We know that when people come together to discuss their vision for the place they call home, great things emerge.
“We want to create a government that listens, respects and trusts the community voice, and has the skills and desire to turn this voice into tangible changes that people see in their neighbourhoods.
“Too often, it’s property developers or those with the loudest voices that have the biggest say in how a neighbourhood develops. This leads to decisions that benefit a handful of people, not the whole community.”