Love your town? Have ideas to make it even better?
Then joining a community reference group might be your jam.
Facilitated by the Central Highlands Regional Council, 13 community reference groups (CRGs) have been operating across the region since 2015.
A collective of like-minded locals, each CRG helps council to prioritise and deliver important projects for their area in line with the Central Highlands 2022 Community Plan.
‘Basically, they give their community a voice when it comes to council decision-making,’ Deputy Mayor Cr Christine Rolfe said.
‘This initiative is about working together to think and plan ahead for the future of our towns and make them a place we are proud to call home.’
Comet member Jenny Wenham said to her a community reference group was a way to engage with council and be a part of promoting her local community.
‘To be absolutely honest, when I was asked to join the community reference group I had no idea what it was or what I could contribute but I found out I’ve got things to offer in ways that I had no idea I would,’ she said.
‘My proudest moment with the community reference group so far has been working with a team to bring our history to life with the Comet Tales and Walking Trails project and the associated stories.
‘On a more personal level I’ve also really enjoyed placing geo-caches to help attract tourists to town, which it definitely does.’
Cr Rolfe said the CRGs had achieved many great things over the years and were always looking for fresh faces to join them.
‘It’s a new year, but also the last year of this community plan,’ she said.
‘Anyone and everyone can join a CRG. You don’t need experience, specific skills or a notebook full of ideas – just passion for making your town great.
‘If you’ve been thinking about getting involved with something like this, now is the time.’
Ms Wenham also encouraged people to give it a go.
‘You should really get involved with your local CRG,’ Ms Wenham said.
‘You can connect with your local community and others in your region and you might just surprise yourself with what you can do for your community.’
Cr Rolfe said the CRGs also offered participants an opportunity to build local networks, add to their skills in leadership, administration and project planning and get insight into all things council.
‘If you are worried you don’t have the time, then here’s the best bit – it’s only four meetings a year. That’s it. And there’s no lock in commitment.’
The first meetings of the year will kick off in February 2021. Specific dates and times are available on council’s Have Your Say, Central Highlands website.
‘If you’d like to try before you sign up, then come along to see if it’s for you,’ Cr Rolfe said.
Have questions or want to know more? Give council’s Connected Communities team a call on 1300 242 686.