Doing Away with Community Consultation 6.3.2012


I missed the beginning of the Council meeting tonight so apologies for holes in this flawed report, but the great thing about the meeting was the full gallery, the people holding signs, the calls of ‘ICAC’ and ‘Shame!‘ at appropriate moments. 

The motion tonight as I understand it was that the QRAP/crap report on the Laman Street process be ‘noted’. Big whoop. I heard the GM say that the recommendations included in the report would be incorporated into Council operating procedures – please correct me if I’m wrong. That of course would be curtains for community consultation. 

The Councillors on the wrong side of the room voted to ‘note’ the report even though they didn’t seem to understand one of the key concepts in it. They voted to ‘note’ the report even though they didn’t know what it would mean, how it would be implemented, what ramifications it would have for council. They voted to be a rubber stamp.


days to the council elections

They voted AGAINST putting the report on public exhibition. Brad FLuke couldn’t understand why you’d bother putting it on exhibition and it was explained to him that it was to get feedback from the community.

Shayne Connell – who proposed this half-baked internal review – voted AGAINST putting it on public exhibition. Presumably he thinks Management Knows Best. Or perhaps he thinks it’s so badly done that he would find it excruciatingly embarrassing. Email him and ask him:

One of the council personnel was allegedly seen to mouth an expletive when it was proposed to put it on public exhibition. The report is anonymous – sorry: the GM’s name is on it. He was asked about the line in the report that the ‘Herald doesn’t check the facts in the letters’ that are printed. The GM’s explanation was that they knew this to be the case because there are things that are ‘factually wrong’ in the letters at times. I thought he must have meant that some letters don’t use Council-speak and they disagree with Council…

The upshot was that there would be a councillor briefing on the report. Voting against even this were King, Buman, Cook and Sharpe. We knew this would be a waste of time.

Thanks to the fig friend who said, ‘They don’t want to engage with the community about how they’re going to engage with the community  in such cases in the future!’

One of the few lessons learned by Council is that the community uses social media better than they do. Mindboggling.

Cr Osborne (Greens) proposed that the report be sent to the producers of the stage show ‘Yes Prime Minister’ to convince them to bring the play to Newcastle.

The link to the report (2.9MB) is here

Thanks to Sharon Healey for the photo of the cross which is now back home.


The fig cross at the Baptist tabernacle disappeared when Council took away the pole it was attached to. The cross has been returned by whoever stole it.


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4 Responses to “Doing Away with Community Consultation 6.3.2012”

  1. Caity Raschke Says:

    From fig friend 1: ‘I am flabbergasted at the lack of scrutiny the councillors showed of the Laman St Review.
    Don’t they realise they are superfluous in the “operational” world. And they have allowed the Real Vocal Minority(council admin) to do them over. It really indicates what a lack of intellect and “scratch my back” that is really operating in there.

    Did any of them realise even the most basic fact that the tone was unprofessional and showed a complete lack of detachment ? They should have tossed it out as unfit.

  2. Caity Raschke Says:

    From Fig Friend no 2:’ I was impressed with Tate’s attempt to explain the poor “culture” of council admin to the councillors, harking back to Novocastrian Park and the skate park but it all fell on deaf ignorant ears. Sharon Claydon was overwhelmed by the stubborn and foolish attitude of the M8 to not ask more questions of admin. Osborne was as eloquent and reasonable as ever and I loved his attempt at levity. Pity Cr King was such a wet blanket. I don’t think there’s much love swimming around in that chamber.’

  3. Terry McCauley Says:

    From reading this article I am sorry that I missed the meeting last night!
    All modern efficient and transparent government agencies in the 21st century are open to transparency and review of issues and procedures that do not work for them or display them in a bad light with the community.
    NCC needs to review openly and critically their internal operating and reporting methods and lack of transparency that is damaging their credability with their local community and the ratepayers.
    This method of working they currently use is a relic of the 20th century and has been responsible for bringing down many high profile individuals and institutions that also thought they were infallible!
    Unfortunately if NCC continue down their current path of secret meetings, discussions and ‘we know best’ decision making mentality on highly emotive issues that impact the Newcastle community then they will suffer the end results. Revolt at the electoral ballot box will occur and they will dumbly wonder why!

  4. Scott CooperJohnston (@ScotCoJohn) Says:

    Corporate thinking from within the NCC. Just like the Mafia mantra, “Don’t admit to anything”.

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