Work begins on shared community vision for Newcastle

19 Jun 2017

Newcastle City Council is working on the next community strategic plan to guide Council spending and priorities for the next 10 years.

Residents, ratepayers, businesses, government agencies and community groups from across Newcastle are all invited to take part in planning for the next decade and beyond.

The Newcastle 2030 community strategic plan will provide an overarching vision for the city, informing Council's delivery plans and annual budgets for years to come.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said this is the opportunity for people to make a real and lasting contribution to how our city will develop from now until Newcastle 2030.

An extensive face-to-face and online community engagement program gets under way this week to find out what matters most regarding the services and facilities Council provides.

Community workshops will be held in coming weeks across the city, as well as face-to-face surveys of visitors to community events, libraries and other Council venues.

Cr Nelmes said there was also a strong focus on engaging the community via social media and the internet.

"We are delivering an innovative community engagement program in which we aim to include every group and demographic within our diverse city for input including those who sometimes miss out on having their say.

"Central to community engagement is a tailor-made digital engagement hub, where people can quickly and easily go online to tell Council what they want and what ideas they have for the city."

"We want people to connect with us, tell us what means most to them and let us know what they want Newcastle to be like in 2030," Cr Nelmes said.

"We're seeing a period of great change, innovation and improvement across the city and now is the time for a fresh plan to help Newcastle thrive and prosper into the future."

Interim CEO Jeremy Bath said an innovative online budget simulator will launch next month and will show users in real-time how changes to spending in one area impact the budget in another area.

"People will be able to submit their budget simulations to us to make clear where their priorities lay. The beauty of the budget tool is that the community will have the same pool of funds Council uses to create the actual yearly operational plan. They'll see how adding spending in one area reduces the amount of money left for the rest of our services."

Prizes will soon be offered for the most innovative, interesting and popular ideas posted to Council's digital engagement site.

Council adopted its first Newcastle 2030 community strategic plan in 2011 and this plan must be updated at least every four years.

Currently, the plan has seven strategic directions reflecting our community's needs moving into the future, these are:
* Connected city
* Protected and enhanced environment
* Vibrant and activated public places
* Caring and inclusive community
* Liveable and distinct built environment
* Smart and innovative city
* Open and collaborative leadership

Cr Nelmes said feedback from the community would help determine whether those seven directions were still relevant and whether they should be changed or added to.

The first stage of community engagement will run until the end of July. A second stage will begin later this year, prior to the draft Newcastle 2030 plan going on public exhibition for comment in April/May 2018. It is due to go to Council for adoption in mid-2018.

Find out more about the Newcastle 2030 engagement activities.