Item 13.1 - Attachment 1

Summary Councillor Workshop



Summary Council Workshop: Advisory Committees

2 February 2009


1.    The Workshop was chaired by Lord Mayor, Clr Tony Issa. Clrs Garrard, Bide,      Elmore, Lim, Wearne, Maitra and McDermott attended.


2.    Representatives of the following Advisory Committees attended and in turn, presented information on the Committees to Councillors: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI); Access; Arts; Community Safety; Cycleways; Heritage; Multicultural and Youth.


3.    Following the presentations, Councillors, in turn, responded.


4.    The ATSI Advisory Committee was represented by Chairperson, Bruce Gale. The key points of the presentation were:

·    the Committee focuses on community events including NAIDOC and Sorry Day

·    these events are well supported and resourced by Council

·    they have helped to raise the profile of Indigenous communities and strengthened the profile of Parramatta as Australia’s second settlement city

·    the Committee has a five year plan (Attachment 1)

·    the Committee recognises it can improve its work


5.   The Access Advisory Committee was represented by John Moxon.

The key points of the presentation were:

·    the Committee’s members have considerable expertise

·    the Committee can help Council enable people with disabilities to participate in Parramatta

·    Council must meet legislative requirements and demonstrate they have considered and met the needs of people with disabilities

·    the Committee can have input into pre-planning which will reduce costs for Council, prevent decisions which are discriminatory and therefore protect Council’s profile

·    the Committee would like to work with the whole of Council and develop an efficient, effective and appropriate input mechanism


6.      The Arts Advisory Committee was represented by Katherine Knight.

The key points of the presentation were:

·    the Committee has played a critical role in lifting  the importance and profile of the arts in the area, particularly in its early years when there was only one Council Arts Officer

·    the Committee has a number of achievements including increasing participation in the arts, and the setting of a strategic framework for the arts for the City

·    however, the Committee has largely and effectively completed its work. It is now time to roll out the plan

·    there are now several additional stakeholders in the arts that are not part of the Committee structure. In addition Council has a larger team of arts staff

·    the general view of the Committee is that they do not want to be re-established. The Committee suggests starting a new way of consulting which needs more input from diverse people/ groups/ agencies. These could take the form of biannual forums etc.


7.    The Community Safety Advisory Committee was represented by Christine Berle.

The key points of the presentation were:

·    ‘community safety’ extends beyond crime prevention

·    initially the Committee was very busy, however, it has since become less active, membership has been low and attendance poor

·    if the Committee continues it should not focus on the CBD alone and other groups’ safety needs/ concerns need to be addressed


 8.     The Cycleways Advisory Committee was represented by Ian Macindoe and Michael Goard.

The key points of the presentation were:

·    The Committee’s primary concerns are safety (on road and off road) and engineering/ designs that improve safety

·    the Committee holds a high level of technical expertise which it provides to Council staff. One member of the Committee attends Council’s Traffic Committee

·    an outline of various important issues which the Committee has discussed at various times was presented including: Northwest T-way cycleway and Liverpool to Parramatta Rail trail (actions forwarded to RTA)

·    Examples of more recent Committee priorities were also given including: pot holes Station Rd/ Fleet St


9.     The Heritage Advisory Committee was represented by Carol Liston.

  The key points of the presentation were:

·     the function of the Heritage Advisory Committee has changed over time from being a lobbyist to responding to consultant and officer reports

·     the Local Heritage Fund is considered a success, but the Committee notes it is no longer involved with Committee grants

·     a matter of importance to the Committee is the 150 items of State significance in the LGA which should be on the State Heritage Register

·     the Committee remains enthusiastic and wishes to help Council in any way possible and to be involved in relevant heritage issues



10.    The Multicultural Advisory Committee was represented by Mlinder Kumar.

The key points of the presentation were:

·    as time has passed since the Committee was established, the number of members has dropped, their interest has fallen away and increasingly there is a lack of focus

·    there are now many other multicultural platforms in Parramatta LGA

·    some CALD communities are not represented on the Committee

·    public involvement is very important and meetings could be open to the public


11.    The Youth Advisory Committee was represented by Lisa Kim

The key points of the presentation included:

·    the Committee has been involved in a number of projects in the last 4 years

·    it has planned a number of actions which have not eventuated

·    the membership profile (Year 11 and 12 school students) has meant there are many months in the year when there has not been a quorum

·    support from Council has been strong

·    the current format of the Committee (face to face monthly meetings) does not suit the needs of young people in terms of how they want to have input. They would prefer electronic input


12.    Responses from Councillors

·    All Councillors expressed thanks to the Committee representatives for their presentations and acknowledged the value of the voluntary work of all members


(a)       Clr  Paul Garrard

·    recognized that some committees have problems and that perhaps alternatives would be better options

·    suggested that committees are set up to do certain jobs


(b)     Clr Andrew Bide

·    questioned whether committees should be better utilized by Council

·    acknowledged all the work of members and that volunteers get tired and need re-invigorating

·    questioned the extent to which membership is representative of all wards and suggested a membership base of 30-40 people across all wards to avoid being ‘city-centric’. Councillors could identify potential representatives from wards

·    made himself available to committees unless he was otherwise busy

·    recognized expertise available through committees to Council


(c)        Clr Glenn Elmore

·    it is important that Council know what some groups want/ need – e.g. Youth and people with disabilities

·    suggested committees are given more direction


(d)       Clr Chiang Lim

·    suggested new committees be established regarding the environment, families and technology

·    concerned at the reports of some Committees as they suggest terminating them; he is not comfortable with terminating volunteers


(e)       Clr Lorraine Wearne

·    suggested committees are reinvented and re-invigorated

·    need to listen to what the membership wants to ensure input mechanism structure is relevant

·    Access, Cycleways, Heritage have a strong skills base in their membership which Council needs to tap into

·    asked how Committees could be refocused/ restructured, e.g. could YAC look at engaging through technology such as facebook?

·    up to Committees to say why they should be wound up – decision of committees, not Council


(f)         Clr  Prabir Maitra

·    suggested re-invigoration of Committees e.g. multicultural committee which could try to get representation from a broader range of cultural groups

·    it is important to set goals for the Committees


(g)       Clr Michael McDermott

·    acknowledged all the work of members

·    recognised the importance and value of diverse voices in discussions about community issues


(h)        Lord Mayor, Clr Tony Issa

·    recognised there needs to be commitment on the part of Councillors to serve on Committees

·    the link between Committees and Council is the Councillors and it is important that all Councillors attend one or two Committees

·    representatives from each ward should be on Committees