Effective community engagement

Community engagement projects always come with challenges. It is not easy to provide meaningful avenues of engagement that hit the ‘trifecta’ – inclusive, productive and cost-effective – in a way that reflects the real diversity of our community and works within our system of government.

At its very heart, genuine community engagement is a human rights based approach that builds in education and practices and models inclusion: through the process of engagement, community members are involved in genuine opportunities to participate in community life, becoming more rights literate and better able to engage with and contribute to resolving issues of shared importance and concern.

Community engagement on human rights benefits all of council – it is not just important for community services. For example:

  • A local council supporting a community engagement project on human rights discovers they have not adequately anticipated the need and positioning of disabled parking at a new shopping centre complex.
  • Rezoning proposals for a local park backing onto a national park are abandoned when council realises it will disproportionately affect rising numbers of homeless community members sleeping in cars, instead of deterring international backpackers engaged in illegal camping.