Council adopts new Social Justice Framework 2022-2023

A new framework to progress equity, inclusion and human rights in Greater Bendigo has been adopted by Council.

The Social Justice Framework – Supporting Equity, Inclusion and Human Rights (2022-2032) builds on the City of Greater Bendigo’s earlier Human Rights Charter (2014) and will support the work of Council and the organisation for the next 10 years.

The key principles of the framework are:

  • Human rights
  • Equity
  • Access and inclusion
  • Participation in decision making

These principles are supported by seven action areas:

  1. Recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples/First Nations peoples
  2. Uphold human rights
  3. Champion social justice
  4. Advance equity
  5. Support access and inclusion
  6. Enable engagement and participation
  7. Support environmental justice

The framework is based on the City of Greater Bendigo’s vision and values, current State and Federal government legislation, analysis of local data, assessment of social justice and human rights best practice within other Local Government authorities, and engagement with the community and key stakeholders.

Mayor Cr Andrea Metcalf said the framework had shifted from protecting human rights to a broader emphasis on addressing a range of social justice responsibilities.

“Although the City always strives to be fair and equitable in its decision making, under the new Local Government Act (2020) all Councils are required to have a document that clearly highlights their responsibilities to provide equitable access to services, opportunities and treat every person fairly, equitably and with respect,” Cr Metcalf said. 

“In 2022 we are reminded that a framework such as this is critical to our work. In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequality and disadvantage in our community, ongoing effects of climate change will affect people already struggling financially, gender inequality and domestic violence are serious issues that require ongoing social change, and a growing population will grow our diversity and bring with it different perspectives and values.

“It is helpful to have a document that outlines what the City stands for. It is a framework but also a form of social contract with our community, highlighting what we will do to create a more fair and equitable community and use our policies, plans and programs as the tools to further inclusion and social justice.” 


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