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What new community reference groups will discuss at first meeting

Ipswich City Council’s five community reference groups will come together for the first time on Tuesday night as part of a new era of more informed council decision-making.

The groups – under the pillars of Economic Development, Resilient Communities, Growth Management, Environment, and Transparent Governance – are meeting at the USQ Ipswich Campus.

Ipswich City Council Interim Administrator Greg Chemello said the 99 people selected will firstly hear his outline of how the groups are intended to operate before going off into the separate forums.

Mr Chemello said there were many issues that needed community input. He said members will meet as a group, talk with council decision-makers, contribute ideas, views and suggestions to council about how to forge a better, more connected and vibrant city.

“We wanted to provide a forum for people to discuss issues of community interest,” he said.

“We can now draw from a vast local knowledge base, and thereby give more people a more structured and transparent voice in the decision making process of council.

“Additionally, this reference group structure gives people a better understanding of how council works, and offers insights into key projects and activities.

“One of my missions as interim administrator is to restore public confidence in the Ipswich City Council, the decisions it makes, and the processes it follows when making those decisions.

“I’m very much looking forward to seeing how the members of the community reference groups interact with each other, and the ideas they are able to ultimately offer up to council.

“Public participation and engagement is the foundation of good decision making.”

Each group is aligned to a standing committee of council, and will be represented by:

Economic Development: Adam French, Paul Casos, Phillip Bell, Begoña Trillo, Moein Varaei, Ruth Tyssen-Day, Paul Travis, Kenneth Weaver, Richard Morrison, Nicholas Pender, Peter Aylward, David Ritchie, Ben Rawlings, Christopher Hannah, Linda Doonan, Ashley Marshall, David Cullen, Ashley Gillie, Nikketah Cuneo and Mike McInnes.

Resilient Communities: Michelle Williams, Carina Tretow-Loof, Rebekah Pick, Larissa Melanie, Belinda Walker, Larry Stumer, Timothy Jordan, Bev Cooper, Rowena McGregor, Ben Hentschke, Louise Lebhers, Anita Dwyer, Nigel Lavender, Nev Paulsen, Graeme Ault, Reena Sharma, Eric Rushton, Jon Janetzki, Shay Ryan and Ruma Wagley.

Growth Management: Kirsty O’Brien, Shelley Elshaw, Grace Muriuki, George Hatchman, Craig Harte, Cheryl Hasted, Judith Vink, Bruce Leslie, Ursula Monsiegneur, Visha Uchronska, Shirley Baker, Douglas Russell, Deborah Pye, Rebecca Andlèmac, Susan McMahon, Nicole Sherlock, Kathryn Just, Olaf Heeremans and James Pinnell.

Environment: Paul Sutton, Luise Manning, Bob Hampson, Conny Turni, Ian Dainer, Billy Diehm, Robert Otjen, Jim Dodrill, Stephen Phillips, Angus Evans, Joseph McLeod, Esther James, Gaby Ricketts, David Trezise, Amber Dupouy, Sonia Brown, Peter Surgeoner, James Prentice, Pam Lenton and Alex Mair.

Transparent Governance: Christine Ryan, Megan Buxton, Marie Kavanagh, Fuad Paul Forghani, John Fraser, Trevor Reynolds, Warren Keel, Cecil Maddox, Paul Travis, Geoffrey Yarham, Steve Mallet, Martin Corkery, Jade Connor, Adrianne Robinson, Mira Yates, David Harris, James Fazl, Robert Gould, Susan Dunne and Kate den Otter.

“Public participation and engagement is at the core of good local government decision-making and is mutually-beneficial to the community and council,” Mr Chemello said.

“It is important that, during this period of administration, we reset the way your council engages with the community. This is a great opportunity for council to re-engage with the community at a strategic level.

“Individual issues such as pot holes, parking fines and barking dogs will not be discussed at these meetings. Instead, members will be asked to share their thoughts on broader issues that significantly impact a local area or the city as a whole.”

The community reference groups will meet at least every quarter.

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