1-5: ‘City of Melbourne: the People’s Panel’, Cr. Stephen Mayne, City of Melbourne

Patrick Blampied FOLG 2015

Download the presentations package from day 1 here

Participatory budgeting processes traditionally focus on a component of discretionary budget – such as a representatives ability to ring-fence a couple of million dollars for community facilities. However, in many ways the larger challenge in budgeting is the dominance of interest groups coupled with the capacity to present any and all decisions as an electoral negative: cutting services or raising rates are both equally tricky paths to navigate. Moreover, the challenge facing all elected officials is the need to take a longer term view beyond the current electoral cycle – a challenge which is counter to any representatives interest in survival. For the first time, the City of Melbourne is producing a 10 Year Financial Plan, and is giving unparalleled access to a descriptively representative random sample of citizens who have produced a set of recommendations to inform the Lord Mayor and Councillors. The City’s scope of operations is immense – in the region of $400m annually – and this will be the largest city with the largest budget to open up their books to a deliberative process giving citizens this level of access and authority. Cr Stephen Mayne is a business journalist and is determined to deliver on the recently adopted goal in Council’s four year plan to make the City of Melbourne ‘one of Australia’s most open and transparent councils’. The project was instrumental in the City of Melbourne winning the IAP2’s International Organisation of the Year Award.