Citizens' Panel

Every year, 50 people from randomly selected households will help shape the future of our Peninsula.

This all started back in 2021, where the community helped shape our future through a new Community Vision to 2040.

Next, we set up our very first Citizens’ Panel to develop this Community Vision. It was such a great success that Council resolved to recruit a new panel each year comprising of all ages and abilities to help them make better and more informed decisions!

How is the panel selected?

Invitations are posted out to 10,000 randomly selected addresses on the Mornington Peninsula from our residential and ratepayer address database.

Of the people who register their interest, we’ll randomly select 50 people to join the Panel.

Anyone 16+ who receives the invitation can apply and we’re happy to help with any technical, mobility, disability or language support.

What does the Citizens' Panel do?

The Panel will discuss and influence a range of issues that impact our community; from how we manage the environment, arts and culture, planning and infrastructure, coastal management, green wedge and transport to how we plan our services and programs such as roads and assets maintenance and community health and wellbeing.

In particular, we want them to see how we are going in the delivery of our new four-year Council and Wellbeing Plan, plus some other long-term planning.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a citizens' panel?

A citizens’ panel is a randomly selected group of people who broadly represent their entire community. The people on the panel learn about issues, discuss them with one another, and then make recommendations to Council about what should happen in their community and if/how things should change.

What impact does the panel make?

All feedback and recommendations from every panel session is presented to Council for their consideration. Panel feedback is also used to guide other Shire work.

Who can apply?

Anyone aged 16+ who lives at an address that has received this invitation can apply. We encourage everyone eligible to register, but a maximum one person from any single household will be selected.

You will not be eligible if you are an elected representative from any level of government, a previous Councillor at the Mornington Peninsula Shire, a previous Citizens’ Panel member or Council staff.

I haven't received an invitation but I want to be involved. What can I do?

Only the 10,000 randomly selected people who received an invitation can register their interest to be involved in the Citizens’ Panel.

That doesn’t mean we don’t want to hear from you though! We do lots of community consultation of a wide range of projects and issues.

Check out the projects open for community feedback.

2023 sessions

Throughout 2023, the panel meets regularly to discuss and influence a range of important issues.

Meet and greet - Safety Beach Sailing Club
Tuesday 28 March, 5.30pm to 7pm

This session was held in-person at the Safety Beach Sailing Club and gave all panel members an opportunity to meet each other and to hear about the year ahead. The Mayor Steve Holland and CEO John Baker welcomed the panellists and spoke about the importance of this unique public forum. 2022 Panel members shared their experiences from the previous year. Our consultants Mosaic Lab explained the facilitation process and answered questions. All panellists were given a handbook to assist with their preparation. The evening concluded with some light refreshments and networking.

Wednesday 5 April, 6pm – 9pm
Session 1: Get to know your council – online session

This session introduced our panellists to the world of the Mornington Peninsula Shire council. We arranged for officers from each of our directorates and business units to be on hand to explain their roles and answer any questions. It was a bit like a speed dating session. The focus of this introductory session was to give our panellists an overview of what council does and some broader sector context for the up-coming sessions. The overwhelming response was “I didn’t realise council did so much!”.

Wednesday 3 May, 6pm – 9pm
Session 2: Open Air Burning Local Law – online session

During our session, we delved deep into the intricacies of our Open Air Burning Local Law. We were joined by officers from diverse departments including Community Safety & Compliance, Legal & Insurance Services, Climate Change & Sustainability, Circular Economy & Waste, and Environmental Health. Each officer provided valuable insights and expertise related to their respective areas. To ensure a thorough understanding of the issue, they participated in break out groups to answer the panel's questions. The result was a comprehensive overview of the various considerations and complexities associated with the Open Air Burning Local Law. Feedback from the panellists will be compiled and presented to council for their consideration before adopting the Local Law.

Download the report from this session(PDF, 2MB)

Wednesday 7 June, 6pm - 9pm
Session 3: Visitor Paid Parking Pilot

This Citizen Panel started with a quick review on last month’s session – Open Air Burning Local Law review and then moved into this month’s topic: Visitor Paid Parking Pilot. Major Project Coordination Team members provided an overview of the project and our Paid Parking officers were also on hand to answer questions. And questions there were! Lots of them. This was really valuable feedback and it's given the team some rich data to review and include in future communications and discussions in the lead up to the start of the pilot later this year. The team has already put the feedback and suggestions to good use when they started engagement with business stakeholders.

Download the report from this session(PDF, 2MB)

Wednesday 5 July, 6pm - 9pm
Session 4: Open Space

During this session, the Panel had the opportunity to explore topics that interested them. They nominated 16 themes ranging from invasive weeds in Shire reserves, to road funding and maintenance, Airbnb regulations and more. Our Panel split into groups to discuss these challenges and possible solution-based outcomes. All their ideas were captured, highlighting why the topic is important for Council. These ideas will be presented at the mid-year check-in, where the Panel will have a chance to further explore all themes with Councillors.

Download the report from this session(PDF, 1MB)

Thursday 20 July, 6pm - 9pm
Session 5: Mid-year check-in

The mid-year check-in was held in person at the Mornington Peninsula Community Theatre. Our Panel enjoyed reconnecting face-to-face with each other, Councillors and Shire staff. The 16 themes chosen in Session 4 were used as discussion points, where it was our Councillor’s turn to ask the Panel questions, including the importance of each topic and how Council can help. The evening concluded with reflections from our Councillors and some light refreshments.

See what the 2022 panellists achieved