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Road issues, water security and economic sustainability were the big issues raised by residents at Council’s Community Consultation Forums last week.

The Mayor, Councillors, CEO and staff travelled to Yaraka, Isisford, Ilfracombe and Longreach to meet with residents and hear about the issues that matter to them most.

Road issues raised at the forums included improvements to the Eagle Street Shared Zone in Longreach, grid approaches in Yaraka, and signage issues in Isisford.

Water was a big concern, with residents in Ilfracombe and Yaraka taking a keen interest in planned improvements to their dams.

The region’s economy dominated discussion in the smaller towns, where local jobs were considered of paramount importance, but was also discussed in Longreach where locals asked about access to expertise and support for small business.

In addition to answering questions from the floor Council was able to report back to each community on issues raised at the previous forums in May.

Yaraka residents were pleased to hear that the Emmet-Blackall Road will be sealed before the end of financial year – greeting the announcement with an enthusiastic round of applause.

There were smiles in Ilfracombe too, as residents acknowledged the work carried out on the Wayne Taylor Oval. In Isisford, residents were thankful for improvements to tracks along the river.

Mayor Ed Warren said Council had addressed more concerns than were being added at the meetings. “As we report back it seems we’re ticking off more items than are being added, which is a good sign”.

“People are also starting to recognise that we’re here to work with them which is quite heartening to see.”

CEO Ian Bodill explained that Council has committed to conducting the forums at least once every six months.

“It’s an important opportunity not just for residents but for us as well – for our team to hear from people about what matters to them. We don’t always get to hear directly from the community, so these forums are really essential to everyone at Council.”

Each forum concluded with a community workshop designed to provide input to Council’s Corporate Plan, which is currently under review. Consultant Sasha Lennon, who developed the recently released Economic Development Strategy, is working on the plan and was on hand to conduct the workshops.

Mr. Lennon explained that the Corporate Plan is a community document.

“The Corporate Plan is basically the people’s plan for Council. It sets out what the community wants Council to deliver.”

Some of the key themes emerging from the workshops included recognition of each individual community’s circumstances, building community capacity and celebration of the region’s heritage and culture.

A draft plan is likely to be prepared by February, and will be brought back to the community for feedback, prior to adoption by Council.