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Hepburn Shire Council has launched ‘Hepburn Together’, a new major strategic planning project which will shape the future of the Hepburn Shire.

Hepburn Shire Council CEO Evan King said that Council was looking forward to working with the community on this important project and the launch of our new modern engagement platform, Participate Hepburn.

The recently revised Local Government Act makes it a requirement for Council to consult with the community on important decisions. The Participate Hepburn website is a response to that requirement. Community satisfaction with the Hepburn Shire Council fell sharply last year. Community perceptions of the Shire’s performance were significantly lower than for comparable councils. The Shire’s worst areas of performance were seen to be in how they made community decisions, consultation and engagement with the community and in lobbying on behalf of the community.

Community satisfaction was a significant factor in recent Council elections which saw six of the seven councillors replaced.

Hepburn Shire Council Mayor Cr Lesley Hewitt said the Hepburn Together project will develop the 10-year Council Vision, 4-year Council Plan, 10-year Financial Plan and Asset Plans, as well as the new Community Engagement Policy.

“We are absolutely committed to working in partnership with the community to develop a shared vision of what we want to be, what we want to do and what our Shire will look like in the future.

“We have such an engaged, creative and knowledgeable community and I am confident many will take the opportunity to get involved and contribute to the future of our Shire.”

Cr Hewitt said the new engagement website has a project overview, timelines for when the community will be involved, background information on all aspects of the project and as the project develops, it will be where the community can find surveys, event details and more.

“I encourage everyone to visit the new website, have a read of what we have in store and start thinking about what you want your Shire to be, and how you want Council to engage with the community and make decisions”, said Cr Hewitt. “The new Community Engagement Policy is the first document we will work with the community to develop and your input is vital in ensuring it is the best policy it can be. This policy will set the tone for when and how we engage with the community, what level of decision making the community will have and it will apply to all strategies, plans and projects that need community input.”

For more information, visit participate.hepburn.vic.gov.au or email hepburntogether@hepburn.vic.gov.au.

Council will hold a number of community pop-up sessions to gather input from the community. Daylesford and Hepburn residents can visit pop-ups at the following times:

Saturday 30 January: Coles Walkway, Time: 2:00pm – 5:00pm

Tuesday 2 February: Daylesford Town Hall Time: 4:00pm – 6:00pm

Pop-ups will also be held in Trentham, Clunes and Creswick. See the council website at participate.hepburn.vic.gov.au/hepburn-together for further information.