Citizens' Jury

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Town Hall lit up at night

Citizens Jury reaches its verdict

The City of Greater Bendigo Citizens’ Jury has handed down its report after three months of deliberation.

The Jury made 44 recommendations across a range of policy areas such as arts, business, community, health, environment and efficiency.

  • Continue present funding for the Bendigo Art Gallery and theatres
  • Better market the arts success story to the community
  • Encourage community gardens
  • Pursue and implement ‘10 Minute Neighbourhoods’ concept
  • Encourage energy efficient and sustainable house designs
  • Continue the internal review process of all City departments
  • Investigate selling, leasing or hiring council facilities and properties

How the Citizens' Jury was undertaken

The City of Greater Bendigo Citizens' Jury is an initiative to engage our community to help shape the Council's priorities for the future. 

Not-for-profit research organisation the newDemocracy Foundation has been engaged to run a Citizens’ Jury process for the City of Greater Bendigo. The jury is convened and operated independent of Council. newDemocracy Foundation is a research foundation, not a consultancy. They are not a think tank and hold no policy views.  

The randomly selected jury will seek to answer the question –What should Council spend our money on to shape the community’s future? 

Selecting jurors

Council and newDemocracy sent invitations to 3,000 randomly selected Greater Bendigo addresses inviting participation in the jury. Based on those who register their interest, newDemocracy conducted a second random draw to convene a jury of around 24 people to reflect the population of the City of Greater Bendigo. 

How the Citizens' Jury works

The jury meet six times over coming months to provide Council with a considered consensus view about the range and level of services across all of Greater Bendigo. 

The Jury’s recommendations will be provided to Council and published later this year, with a detailed written response provided by Council in March 2017. 

Frequently asked questions

What is a Citizens' Jury?

A Citizens’ Jury is a group of people who are randomly selected. They come together as a group to be briefed on an issue and to make recommendations. A citizens’ jury aims to involve the wider community in the decision making process of an organisation or government. Citizens’ juries are usually convened to consider one issue over a brief period of time and are then disbanded. 

Why do we need a Citizen's Jury? Don't we pay the Councillors to do this as part of their role?

The City is facing a number of challenges such as rate capping and a reduction in State and Federal funding for service provision. As the City nears Council elections in October (and potentially new Councillors) and the prospect of developing a new Council Plan (a four year strategic document for Council), now is a critical time to ensure the community has a say in the future direction of Council. The City wants to hear from a group that represents Bendigo residents (including location, gender, age and income) to make sure that it continues to provide the right services into the future. 

What is the cost of the project and who is paying for it?

The project cost is $89,000. Council is paying for the project. 

How will the sessions operate?

The jury sessions are being conducted by an independent facilitator alongside representatives of newDemocracy. All sessions will be open to the public. 

How do I contact newDemocracy Foundation? 

Contact newDemocracy on 0467 066 185 or email[email protected]. All queries are to be directed to newDemocracy. 

newDemocracy is convening the jury on behalf of Council and is best placed to answer your questions about the process and how the community can be involved. Council’s role is to facilitate and support the jury through the provision of information and documentation requested and to provide meeting venues, catering and other logistical support. 

Why wasn't I invited to participate?

The random selection was taken from the 55,000 properties on our properties database. This means there is a 1 in 18 chance of your household receiving an invitation from the random selection of 3,000. 

Is it a voluntary role or are they paid positions?

Jury members will be invited to participate by random invitation and selection. Participants have to register their interest in participating. At the conclusion of the jury, a one off payment of $400 will be made to jurors to recognise their time and commitment to this process. Meals will be provided at the Citizens’ Jury meetings. 

Are the Jury member's details public information? Where can I find them?

No. newDemocracy will not provide any juror contact information. 

Does Council have to act on the Jury's recommendations?

It is the intention of Council to implement as many of the Jury’s recommendations as possible. The final decision, however, rests with the elected Mayor and Councillors. 

Submissions made to the Jury

Greater Bendigo community members had the opportunity to make a submission to the Citizens’ Jury, and the following were received: 

Documents provided to the Jury

Information requested by the Jury

Contact us

For more information please contact us on 03 5434 6000.


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