The best way to create change is to be involved.
Nominations are open for members of the public to join council’s advisory committees and reference groups.
Jan Edwards, chief executive officer of BDCU, has been involved with council committees for about 10 years and has been a member of the Risk and Audit committee since its formation.
“Choosing a committee where your training or past experience, whether professional or otherwise, offers some knowledge you can bring to the party will make it a valuable experience,” she said.
Ms Edwards recommended Highlanders put their hand up for a chance to contribute to their community, and also gain new skills themselves.
“Regardless of which committee they’re interested in, if people have an interest or some skills to add it’s valuable.
“Unless you work in local government, it will be outside of your normal experience - even if it’s subject matter you have expertise in.”
Ms Edwards said her involvement had improved her understanding of the roles and dynamics between councillors and council staff.
While some may be concerned that joining a council committee would take up a lot of their time, Ms Edwards said organisation was key.
“While papers for the Risk and Audit committee were somewhat dense and required time to read properly, they were provided well ahead of planned sessions,” she said.
Ms Edwards said the average hours per month, including the meeting time, was five hours. “It’s manageable even with a full-time job,” she said.
Council’s group manager of corporate and community Nick O’Connor said residents could contribute to council policy development, direction and practice through the committees.
“We believe there’s a lot of knowledge and experience within our community,” he said.
Council’s advisory committees generally meet once every three months. Those interested can see a full list of committee and reference groups with positions available and nominate at www.yoursaywingecarribee.com.au/committees. Applications close January 15.