Celebrating Digital Brilliance covering Digital, Online Services and Applications, the AMYs are the Australian digital industry’s most prestigious awards. Winner of the Social Good Awards category was the Pick My Project website developed by Katalyst Interactive for the Department of the Premier and Cabinet Victoria. This award focuses on outstanding examples of social good businesses using digital technologies to aid the business and help deliver greater value to their audience.

Pick My Project is a community grants initiative that gives Victorians the chance to apply for funding for any project ideas they have that will make their community a better place to live. The Victorian Government partnered with Katalyst Interactive to purpose-build the Pick My Project website. The initiative engaged with more than 95,000 Victorian voters with 48% of those in rural and regional areas. 237 projects would be funded as decided by the public.

One of the biggest participatory budgeting projects ever run, Pick My Project empowered Victorians to decide how $30 million dollars of public funds is spent. Participatory budgeting is a process of democratic deliberation and decision-making, in which ordinary people decide how to allocate part of a public budget. 

Similar initiatives have also been implemented in South Australia, which have received acclaim, winning a Good Design Award (Fund My Neighbourhood) and the United Nations Community Engagement award (Fund My Community). For these initiatives, the South Australian government also partnered with Katalyst Interactive to purpose-build a digital system.

Participatory budgeting was first developed in the 1980s in Brazil, with the first full participatory budgeting process implemented in 1989, in the city of Porto Alegre. A World Bank paper suggests that participatory budgeting has led to direct improvements in facilities in Porto Alegre. Sewer and water connections increased from 75% of households in 1988 to 98% in 1997. The number of schools quadrupled since 1986 and health and education budget increased from 13% (1985) to almost 40% (1996). 

Taking the participatory budgeting process online, and making it digital for millions of people at a state scale, required understanding how the community would engage on digital devices in a statewide initiative. Working together with Katalyst Interactive to purpose-build a solution, the governments in Victoria and South Australia have each successfully implemented groundbreaking initiatives and empowered millions of Australians to directly influence the spending of public funds in their community. 

Read the full Pick My Project case study here

Pick My Project Highlights

  • Over 2400 ideas submitted
  • 284,000 votes
  • 237 projects funded. 120 in metro, and 117 in regional and rural.  
  • 10% voters aged 65+ and the oldest voter was 105 years old
  • Over 95,000 Victorians voted