WHEN the news agenda is dominated by scandalous affairs, people at the top manipulating decisions for their own benefit and electricity prices and lacklustre wage growth pushing the cost of living to to the brink, it’s easy to see how participation on council committees can slip through.
It’s an issue we’ve been covering in the background for the last couple of years, particularly those committees struggling to achieve a quorum.
Yet many of them play a critical role.
Some, like the NAIDOC and Australia Day committees, organise specific events.
Others deal in types of infrastructure – the ageing and access committee makes sure people with limited mobility can navigate public areas while the crime prevention committee concerns itself with safety.
Some deal with even wider issues – the economic development committee, for example concerns itself with where future employment will come from.
It seems the recognition for the role committees play has grown because when Orange City Council asked for volunteers, they flooded in.
Extra places were even created on the sport and recreation committee to cater for the interest.
The volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds.
Some are former councillors who either retired last year or were not re-elected, but still have the strength and drive to make a difference.
Some ran for the council last year, but missed out and no doubt realise being part of a committee is a good way not only to familiarise themselves with how local government works, but to still contribute to Orange during the next three years.
Others have been part of committees for years and still have things they want to achieve.
All should be commended for putting their names forward, particularly those who will perform more than one advisory role.
As Elizabeth Griffin pointed out, the wheels of bureaucracy move slowly, but many projects in recent years can be attributed to committees, including the Orange Regional Museum.
Originally put forward by the Orange and District Historical Society, the idea was formalised into a committee and we can see the final result today.
We look to the results once these groups start to meet.