Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Community based budgeting being trialled by a NSW Local MP

Community-based budgeting is an approach that involves a government allowing its constituents to nominate how some or all of the government's budget is spent in either a binding or non-binding manner.

It's not a new approach - in fact it's been used for thousands of years in different forms around the world.

What is reasonably new is using online tools to facilitate the process. This has been used successfully in various places around the world, (including Brazil) including at local council level in Australia.

However, for the first time that I'm aware of in Australia, the approach is about to be trialled at a state government level in NSW by Heathcote MP Paul McLeay.

The approach was announced via his website with a video, which details how the process will work.

It has also been the subject of a post by Paul at ON LINE Opinion titled, Web 2.0: citizens choose how to spend public money.

The article attracted criticism from the Sydney Morning Herald over the authors' choice of words regarding the Premier of NSW's use of Twitter. However it should also be noted that the quote was misattributed as only being from MP Paul McLeay, not from all of the authors, and the Herald didn't mention the point of the initiative in the first place.

However the experiment in edemocracy has attracted more positive views from others who have focused on the initiative, such as from Online Community Engagement's post Paul McLeay's e-democracy initiative - 3 cheers from us but the Herald is not impressed!.

I often wonder how the Australian public would prefer to spend 'government' budgets - the money that taxpayers give to the government to be used in their benefit.

Even with the understanding that the community won't have all the same information on which to make their decisions it would still make an interesting experiment to see the choices they make and the reasons behind their decisions.


  1. is now live. you can view projects and vote until end of october 2009.