Rural Councils Victoria welcomes the State Government’s announcement of $3.8 million to support rural councils in improving their information technology to facilitate remote governance and community engagement.
RCV Chair Mary-Ann Brown said:
“The $100,000 support to every rural council in the state means that councils can be connected more interactively with our communities.”
“These grants recognise that remote working caused by the coronavirus pandemic has added pressure on rural councils due to the costs of providing appropriate and timely facilities, infrastructure and services to effectively support the introduction of virtual meetings and remote working by councillors and council staff.
“Rural councils generally face lower levels of digital connectivity, limited budgets to provide virtual meeting facilities, equipment and services and greater distances between council facilities.
“These grants will support rural councils to develop and implement an effective and ongoing capability to convene and stream virtual council meetings,” Cr Brown said.
This capability is essential to delivering the expanded community engagement requirements prescribed in the new Local Government Act.
The new act sets out a range of requirements, including deliberative engagement practices, and the grants will help support the delivery of these across widespread communities.