Committee's for - Gathering
Committees for Cities and Regions
The Committee for Portland hosted the combined “Committees for Cities” biannual meeting in Portland during October 2010. Attendees represented more than 550 of the leading businesses in Australia and New Zealand, and a combined annual investment in the “Committee’s for” activities of $5.5M. The meeting brought together Chair’s and Executive Officers from the various committees, including Committees for Melbourne, Perth, Auckland, Geelong, Wyndham, Ballarat, Portland, and emerging Committees from Bellarine, Albany and Wagga Wagga.
The meeting provided an ideal opportunity to review and benchmark the performance of the Committee for Portland, and some very favourable feedback was provided from members of the other Committees on the local achievements of Portland to date. A number of combined activities have resulted from the meeting, and some interesting initiatives from other Committee’s have been incorporated into the updated 2011 Committee for Portland Business Plan.
The next Biannual meeting of the “Committees for Cities” is being scheduled for Canberra in June 2011.
Key themes from the event included
1 – Involving more than the CEO
Longevity of membership relies on the C4 being integral to the businesses supporting it, not just a passion of individuals who happen to be employees of those businesses. For C4P, the question is “how would we survive if key Board members changed roles or companies?” Some solutions include :
• Including observers from each member at Board meetings
• Engaging each member business in some practical activity of the C4, so there is ownership and action occurring, not just attendance at meetings and paying membership invoices. This theme of increasing the “volunteering” from members was quite strong, and could really add to the outputs and outcomes from the C4P. An effective business plan can be formed around the idea that the future is made up of small jigsaw pieces which each member has a direct role in producing, and the combination of these actions delivers the vision.
• Including mentors from each member in a leadership program run by the C4. Builds increased awareness of the C4, and builds links between members and other businesses.
2 – Why be a member of a C4 ?
• Discussion occurred around the reason businesses should join
• Not just for the passion of an individual
• Not for the benefit of your individual business
• Not for vested interests
• Because you have a desire to support the long term interest of your city
• Because you want to have a role in equipping generations beyond what you can see
3 – Having a clear decision framework for adopting projects or activities
This avoids the temptation and confusion on what to support and when (eg Committee for Auckland). C4P has been aware of this already, and has used the Business Plan to guide decisions. Introducing formal guidelines or processes to assist this would be beneficial. It would also aid understanding of what the C4 stands for, and could be a public document to aid those considering approaching the C4 for support on any particular issue.
4 – Promoting Iconic Projects
There were a number of examples of “icon” projects really demonstrating the value of the C4 model i.e. Committee for Ballarat 10,000 jobs in 10yrs project. In some cases, the C4 was putting forward future visions of their city that encouraged a public debate on where the city was going, what it valued, and what it’s leaders and decision makers should be working towards. Projects either being led by other C4’s, or visited by the various C4’s, had resulted in real changes to the look and feel of cities, and brought about rejuvenation and transformation, generally bringing an increased cultural emphasis to once industrial locations.
The C4 can help present a vision without setting community expectations as might local government if it leads the debate. This process can help galvanise a community and provide the motivation for government and others to get behind the vision in real terms. Committee for Geelong are working with Deakin Uni to develop a 3D vision for a Geelong cultural precinct which will enable the public to see, feel, the functionality of a vision.
Locally, this might include extracting from the Great South Coast Regional Strategic Plan those items that relate specifically to Portland’s future, giving these a high public profile to encourage the community to embrace these as valuable, and then using these to seek relevant support both locally and from other decision makers and funds managers (eg State and Federal Government, RDA). Producing a report that provides government with solutions they can support (eg freight and transport, new and renewable energy, tourism), which directly benefit Portland.
5 – Giving the Mayor a list of projects they can deliver in their term
Why not make the mayor’s agenda the Committee’s agenda ? Having a concise and agreed list of key projects that can realistically be delivered or progressed during a mayoral term, and presenting these without any expectation of recognition from the C4 can help deliver a town/city’s C4 objectives (eg Auckland City Transformers Group).
6 – Develop a list of key reports for the year ahead
What do we want to be known for in a year’s time ? How do we want to inform the public debate on various issues ?
C4P could consider the development of some key projects for the year ahead – producing some highly credible outputs. An example would be quantifying the importance of the region – what is our GDP ? What is our relevance to Victoria/Australia really ?
Others might include :
• Practical Actions to address Injustice in SWVic – don’t forget to look at your cities “dark side”, and consider how the C4 can actively work to address this. Might include regeneration projects to rebuild/transform the lost parts of a town, and might expose deeper cultural issues and planning approaches. Consider a program where emerging managers and leaders are volunteered into local not-for-profit Boards - double benefit of increasing the management capability of the nfp’s and skills of future leaders (where is the next crop of skilled Board members coming from).
• Supporting Cruise Ships – what does a “cruise destination” need, and what can the C4P do to assist the town to migrate to become this.
• Summary of key industry developments planned and occurring in the region (this then becomes a working document of what’s really going on in our region, flags potential members, highlights major transformation).
• Art’s and Culture Directory and vision
• FACTbase – dispelling the myths/folklore about Portland (eg C4 Perth).
7 – Supporting the C4 concept
• New and emerging members – helping, sharing IP
• Joint “Committees for Cities” networking group concept
• Ability to take the emotion out of the debate and put logic back into the discussion i.e. nuclear debate.
• Next combined meeting in Canberra
• Joint membership fees across committees (eg Alcoa for C4G and C4P).
8 – Be prepared to lead
• The Executive Officer and Chairperson should be prepared to demonstrate leadership, be proactive in engaging members on issues of importance, be proactive in engaging with members to keep them inspired, understand their needs, focus their efforts, these are not passive roles. Our aim is to connect people through leadership.
• We want to have an impact, not just a voice.
• Part of this issue relates to accessibility as well – an effective C4 needs to have an “open for business” model, whereby members and stakeholders know they can drop in, phone, or otherwise contact the C4 and know they will get access to a person on the first attempt. Standard office hours, known days for contact, a calendar of appointments produced in advance. Surveying members would assist in this process.
9 – Information Management
• C4’s generate a range of records, reports, information.
• This information should be managed to a high standard, and try and ensure continuity of knowledge regardless of the personnel involved.
• Consider a member-specific, or more general records data management system. This might be a sensible project for an existing member to support the C4P from their own current information management and records systems.
• Need to review the current practices of C4P to manage the existing information history, and understand the need going forward.
Population Debate Press Release
Committee for Cities - Australia Now and into the Future Presented by Brian Haratsis
Committee for Cities Minutes 19-20 March 2012 Perth
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