Rebecca is an experienced community engagement and social planning professional with strong experience across government and not for profit sectors. She is a strategic thinker, motivated by working collaboratively to identify solutions to complex problems and support strong, resilient communities into the future. Her career spans State and Local Government , along with experience in the International Development sector. She has spent the last 15 years in the Local Government sector and enjoys the challenges and opportunities in working with local communities and advocates for genuine and robust engagement and research to inform decision making. Rebecca brings experience and a strong interest in international development sector, with experience in Asia Pacific on Australian government funded programs.
Innovating community engagement to ensure the future of the Sutherland Shire
Co-Presenter- Dipesh Soneji
Over the next ten years, Sutherland Shire Council faces the financial challenge of considering how to maintain its assets and the level of service the community expects into the future. With rising operating costs, energy bills, costs of materials and maintenance costs all increasing – along with the additional pressures places on assets from inevitable population growth – the Council is facing a squeeze on financial resources. An additional $127m alone is required to maintain the service and infrastructure for three major spend areas.The Council wanted to engage with the Shire community to understand where the focus of the Council’s spending should be. It was important for the Council to know what is most important to residents, where residents are willing to make trade-offs across the Council’s services and the willingness to take on any possible rate change.Ruby Cha Cha worked with the Council to develop a research project with 4-stages. A mix of stakeholder interviews, in-home depth interviews, 5 nights of resident forums and a survey completed by 2400 residents provided the Council with the answers.As a result of this study, Sutherland Shire Council has clear direction on how to engage with the community, what is acceptable when it comes to rate rises; and priorities for asset management. This knowledge helps the Council to plan for the future well-being of a proud community.