1. Contacting Councillors
You can find the phone numbers and email addresses of Councillors here >> Councillor Contact Details.
Contacting Councillors via phone is the most effective. So it is best to ring them, if they don’t reply within 24 hrs SMS them, if they don’t reply within 48 hrs then email them as a last resort.
2. What are the key issues?
The full draft Meeting Procedure Local Law is a long document. You can read it here but here is a much much shorter summary of the issues involved!
WHAT YOU COULD SAY IN YOUR RESPONSE
|a) An 8 min
|Currently there is no limit and yet public Council meetings still rarely go for more than 2 1/2 hours. Councillors serve us best by having no limit on how many questions they can ask in public on resident or policy issues. The 8 minutes is for both questions and answers and the only extension is at the discretion of the Mayor and only to be allow a final question to be answered. 8 minutes only allows three-four fairly short questions to be asked and answered – without any follow up or clarification.||That Councillor question time should stay unlimited so Councillors can ask as many questions as they need to at a public Council meeting to serve and represent the public and hold the Council staff to account. Some meetings there will be more, some less but Greater Dandenong Council meetings are always quite short.|
|b) Not implementing verbal question time||Residents should have the ability to ask questions themselves, not just have them read out by someone else. The 2017 3 month trial of this at Greater Dandenong had no issues and many Councils across Melbourne have been introducing it. Knox and Monash Councils nearby have it.||That the public should be able to ask their own questions for themselves as many Councils are slowly introducing. They should be able to participate in local democracy directly enhancing their interest in Council.|
|c) The banning of online petitions without an alternative being provided||Online petitions are the way of the future and prohibiting online petitions created with popular websites like change.org from being accepted as valid petitions because it doesn’t collect street addresses and email addresses – without providing an alternative – is old fashioned and not keeping up with the times – particularly for a Council that has a Digital Strategy!||Until Council provides it’s own online petition software, petition software like change.org should be allowed and new numbers of signatories recorded at each meeting.|
|d) All rescission motions need a seconder’s signature before the night.||Rescission motions allow important matters to be voted on again at the next public meeting to make sure Council make a well considered decision. This proposed change would mean in practice that Councillors that would be prepared to second a recission motion in the Council chamber on the night would be pressured not to sign a motion in advance so it would never end up on the agenda. This change is good only for pressuring Councillors not to consider going ahead with rescission motions. There has been no problem to date so why change anything? Why are they being treated differently to any other motions? If something is important to the public and needs to be voted on again why should that be discouraged?||The process for rescission motions should stay the same and no signatures should be needed before the night so Councillors are not pressured to not support others putting them forward.|