Public attendance at Council meeting during COVID-19 restrictions
From 26 March 2021, Councils will once again permit members of the public to attend meetings in person, subject to the requirements of any Public Health Order in force at the time and social distancing requirements. Councils can limit the number of members of the public attending meetings to comply with the Public Health Order and to ensure appropriate social distancing.
To comply with the new requirements, the following rules for public attendance at Council meetings will apply:
- From the 26 April meeting, limited public attendance at Council meetings will be permitted.
- To ensure appropriate social distancing, up to ten members of the public will be allowed to attend each Council meeting, on a “first to arrive” basis.
- An additional five public attendance places will be reserved for public forum speakers.
- The maximum number of public attendees at each Council meeting will be set at fifteen during the transition period (i.e. pending any further advice from the OLG).
The Code of Meeting Practice allows members of the public to address Council on most items on the Business Paper. Three (3) minutes is allowed for each address to Council.
If you wish to address Council, please:
- Advise the Council Administrative Officer prior to 12 Noon;
- Fill in the form on this page; and
- Wait until called by the Chairperson.
When addressing the Council, please:
- Give your name and suburb;
- Keep to the issue only; and
- Complete your address within three (3) minutes.
Guidelines – Request to Address Council
Applications to Address Council
- A member of the public may be granted permission to address Council during Public Forum where such a request is received by the General Manager (or his delegate) no later than midday on the day of the Council meeting. This shall not apply to questions and comments relating to Items on the Agenda.
This provision is subject to: –
- Public Forum will be for a period of no more than fifteen (15) minutes, unless otherwise determined by Council.
- Each speaker being permitted to address Public Forum for up to three (3) minutes.
- Each speaker being limited to making a statement on any item on the Agenda or otherwise related to Council business.
- The proceedings of all Council Meetings in open session may be recorded
- Council accepts no responsibility for any defamatory comments made by the speaker in respect of anything said or any material presented to the Meeting.
Addressing Council – Application Process
- All requests are to be made to the Executive Assistant to the Mayor and General Manager by midday on the day of the Council meeting.
- Applicants shall state:
- Their name, address and contact telephone number;
- Organisation or group they are representing (if applicable);
- Details of the issue to be addressed and the item number of the report in the Business Paper (if applicable) or the questions to be presented to the meeting;
- Whether they are opposing or supporting the issue or matter (if applicable).
Previous Applications and Agenda Items
- Where the applicant has previously addressed Council further applications to address Council will only be accepted if new issues are to be introduced. Issues previously raised are not to be re-canvassed.
- This will not preclude residents addressing Council for the first time on a matter that has previously been the subject of a public forum presentation, question or statement albeit that they intend to raise issues that were previously raised in the public forum.
- The Chairperson and Council staff shall not be obliged to provide a response to the speaker’s statement.
Replies to Speakers
- Where an address relates to an issue of general interest, the Mayor or General Manager may provide a reply to the speaker at the conclusion of the address.
Conduct of Speakers
Speakers should conduct themselves with due respect to the Council and observe the Code of Conduct and Code of Meeting Practice, ie not disrupt the conduct of the meeting and to treat all people with respect, and courtesy, and not make defamatory comments. In the event that a speaker does not conduct themselves accordingly, the Chairperson may request the speaker to apologise, desist from the inappropriate behaviour, return to the public gallery and/ or otherwise enact provisions of Council’s Code of Meeting Practice.
Members of the public will not be permitted to use the Public Forum for the purpose of abusing, vilifying, insulting, threatening, intimidating or harassing Councillors, Council staff or other members of the public. Conduct of this nature will be deemed to be an act of disorder and the person engaging in such behaviour will be ruled out of order by the Mayor and may be expelled from the Council Meeting.
Members of the public will not be permitted to raise matters or provide information that involves:
- personnel matters concerning particular individuals (other than councillors),
- the personal hardship of any resident or ratepayer,
- information that would, if disclosed, confer a commercial advantage on a person with whom the council is conducting (or proposes to conduct) business,
- commercial information of a confidential nature that would, if disclosed:
- prejudice the commercial position of the person who supplied it, or
- confer a commercial advantage on a competitor of the council, or
- reveal a trade secret,
- information that would, if disclosed, prejudice the maintenance of law,
- matters affecting the security of the council, councillors, council staff or council property,
- advice concerning litigation, or advice that would otherwise be privileged from production in legal proceedings on the ground of legal professional privilege,
- information concerning the nature and location of a place or an item of Aboriginal significance on community land,
- alleged contraventions of the council’s code of conduct.