What is community engagement?

    Community engagement is how we reach out and encourage you, our community, to talk with us about the plans, projects and policies we develop on your behalf. It is about asking and listening to the community to help us make decisions.

    Community Engagement is important, it:

    • Involves the community in decision making
    • Builds relationships and trust
    • Strengthens community
    • Builds a sense of belonging; and
    • Keeps the community informed
    Council has a Community Engagement Policy that steps out the principles of community engagement that we are committed to, our process for community engagement, the role of Councillors and Council staff, as well as which Council documents relate to the Policy.

    What kind of community engagement activities does Council run?

    We design each engagement activity to fit the needs of the project and the affected community. We may offer a combination of online discussions, surveys, information stalls at community events such as street fairs, drop-in information sessions or workshops. Some people don't have time to come to a face-to-face engagement and some people aren't interested in using computers. You can participate in whichever way suits you best.

    Can I have my say if I don't want to fill in a survey or join a discussion forum?


    Do we accept petitions?

    Council will accept petitions at anytime, not restricted to projects we are seeking comment on through our online engagement website.

    To find out more about what you need to do visit https://wollongong.nsw.gov.au/contact-us/petitions

    What is Council's privacy policy in relation to submissions?

    The purpose for seeking your submission on advertised matters is to better assist Council in its decision making processes.

    The intended recipients of your submission are officers within Council and those granted lawful access to the information. Your submission may be exhibited on Council’s website and included in publicly accessible registers. If you make an anonymous submission, Council will be unable to contact you further.

    If your submission relates to a development proposal or other relevant planning application, Council is required to disclose on its website all relevant details of political donations or gifts made by you, including your name and address.

    In limited circumstances, you may apply for suppression of your personal information from a publicly accessible register.

    View the full privacy and personal information protection policy on Council’s website or phone Council for more information on (02) 4227 7111.

    Read Council's full Privacy Management Plan (557kb) (pdf)

    What happens to my feedback and suggestions?

    All community feedback is considered by Council.  Responses to engagement projects are compiled and considered. When projects are reported to Council to make a decision a summary of community feedback will be included. Updates on projects will be included in these pages and elsewhere on Council's website.  Sometimes it takes some months to provide feedback to the community and to make a decision as further investigation is often needed. We are listening and we do take your suggestions on board!

    How are decisions made?

    Council decisions can only be made at a formal Council meeting or by delegation, where the responsibility is given to Council officers or special committees to make the decision.

    • At a meeting – decisions are made by the votes of the majority of Councillors present. Most important and strategic decisions are made at meetings. Council Meetings are held approximately 20 times a year in the Council Chambers. They are open to the public, except for any part of the meeting where items are proposed to be considered in Closed Council. You can watch Council meetings live online. View the Calendar of Meetings to find out when the next meetings are on. Before each meeting, you can visit Council’s website to see the list of items on the meeting agenda and read the business papers (which usually includes reports and recommendations prepared by Council officers), that Councillors will discuss and consider at the meeting.You can also read about what decisions have been made in Council minutes.
    • By delegation – some issues are given to Council officers or special committees to make the decisions on.
      - Special committees - can include any combination of Councillors, Council officers, community members and other people. The Local Government Act says what kind of responsibilities and decision-making powers they have.
      - Council officers - lower-level and operational decisions are up to Council officers. These have to be in line with Council’s policies and procedures.

    What information do Councillors, special committees and Council officers use to help them make decisions?

    • Community feedback
    • Reports and studies prepared by Council officers, consultants or other experts
    • Advice from reference groups, advisory committees and other authorities
    • Legislation and other legal information
    • Policies and procedures

    Who are the Councillors making the decisions?

    The City of Wollongong local government area is represented by a Council made up of a Lord Mayor and 12 Councillors. Both the Lord Mayor and the Councillors are popularly elected. This means that they are voted in by people on the Commonwealth electoral roll. The City is divided into three areas called Wards, with four Councillors elected from each Ward. 

    Find out more information about our Lord Mayor, Councillors and wards

    What is the Local Government Act?

    The Local Government Act 1993 is New South Wales law that sets out Councils’ responsibilities and how they can operate. It also makes sure that Councils engage with their communities.

    Chapter 4 of this Act details the ways that community can influence what Council does.

    What are policies and procedures?

    Policies and procedures are the rules and processes we follow. They guide our decision-making, actions and how we direct and control the business of Council. All of Council’s current policies can be viewed on the website.

    How do you provide access for all to engagement activities?

    If you're d/Deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech impairment, you can contact us through the National Relay Service. 

    If you need an interpreter you can contact us through the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450. You'll need to provide our phone number 02 4227 7111 when using these services.