The Geelong Citizens’ Jury
The Victorian Government committed to consult the Geelong community about its local governance arrangements following the dismissal of the Greater Geelong City Council in April 2016.
Announced by the Minister for Local Government, the Hon. Natalie Hutchins MP on 12 July 2016, the Geelong Citizens' Jury is overseen by the independent not-for-profit organisation the newDemocracy Foundation (nDF). The jury was taksed with recommending how Greater Geelong will be democratically represented by a future council.
The nDF randomly selected the 100-member jury from 15,000 Geelong residents, who were invited to register their interest to be a jury member. Key stakeholders and interest groups as well as all members of the Geelong community had the opportunity to have their say in person and online, and have those views considered by the jury. This ensured the jury was fully informed about all views and perspectives when it deliberated.
Geelong Citizens’ Jury timeline
On 3 August, briefings were held in Geelong for key stakeholders and interest groups to hear about the process, put forward their views and nominate to present to the jury.
On 11 August, invitations were issued to 15,000 randomly-selected residents to register their interest to be selected for the jury.
Broad community engagement was conducted around some democratic representation options for Geelong in background papers. The community provided their views through a series of interactive local events and online consultation.
October 2016 - January 2017
The randomly-selected 100-member citizens' jury met and deliberated over four Saturdays in late October and November 2016 and January 2017.
Jury members considered background papers, stakeholder submissions and survey responses, and the community's feedback. The jury members heard from a range of speakers including:
- Former mayor Keith Fagg
- Committee for Geelong CEO Rebecca Casson
- Bernadette Uzelac CEO of the Chamber of Commerce
- Russell Coad of G21 Agribusiness Forum
- Dr Graeme Emonson, Executive Director LGV
- Dr Gerry Stoker, Professor of Governance within Social Sciences: Politics & International Relations at the University of Southampton
- Chad Foulkes, academic from Deakin University and co-author of a submission in the Supplementary Paper advocating the use of s.86 committees
- Cameron Grainger, former councillor of Greater Geelong City Council
- Stephen Mayne, former councillor of Melbourne City Council
- Dr Kathy Alexander, chairperson of the panel of administrators at Greater Geelong City Council
- Jim Gifford, consultant nominated by Melbourne City Council to discuss the features of the Melbourne City Council electoral structure
The jury provided its interim report to the Minister for Local Government in November and its final report in January 2017.
Read the jury’s Final Report and recommendations
May - June 2017
The unedited final Geelong Citizens' Jury report and the Government response were tabled in Parliament on 9 May 2017. This coincided with the introduction of a Bill to implement the jury's practical recommendations.
The Bill provides for:
- eleven councillors in total
- the mayor and deputy mayor elected by the council
- the mayor and deputy mayor serve a term in office of two years
- the councillors elected to represent four wards with three councillors in three wards and two councillors in one ward.
The Bill was passed by Parliament on 8 June 2017 and will be implemented prior to the October 2017 election for the Greater Geelong City Council.