Today in Maleny we have over 150 groups and organisations focusing on specific activities, services or projects. Many of us are active members of more than one of these groups.
But what do we do if we want to express our views, find out more or take action on general issues that impact on the community as a whole? For example, we all have a concern about traffic flow in the main street or parking. Such issues are raised in our groups or with friends in passing; but they may not be discussed or acted upon by the broader community.
There are various ways in which private individuals can participate to influence public decisions. Some of the processes are quite structured; require individuals to be members; and can also be quite political. Others are much more informal and are not political. These more informal processes focus on enabling individuals to participate on issues that concern them, in ways they are able to contribute or take action.
While the need for some community participatory process has been discussed in recent times, no single organisation has taken ownership of it. We still do not have any general open community way of voicing our concerns about community issues; becoming informed about such issues; or taking action on those that are most important to us.
This invitation to a Maleny Forum is not an invitation to join yet another organisation; but rather a way of testing the potential of present informal local arrangements through which individuals might have their say and take action if they wish.
A small team has already been researching some of the ways that other towns and communities have responded in this regard. At the Forum we can learn how they have improved local private citizens’ involvement in public decision-making; and we will have the opportunity to discuss if or how Maleny might act.
If you would like to explore this further come along to the Maleny Forum at 5.30pm on the 10 July in the Verandah Room at the Maleny Community Centre.