It’s crunch time for local democracy!
Public council meetings are where the decisions of local government are made. These meetings are controlled by something called the Meeting Procedure Local Law. This law not only sets down the rules for Councillors but importantly the degree of public involvement. This year it has been under review and the first draft released for public consultation in late June was very bad.
There has been some improvements in the latest draft that will go for final decision at the public Council meeting this Monday. Online petitions are now allowed and the changes to the way rescission motions are dealt with have been.
However there are still the following major issues below so attending the public meeting on this Monday, 14th October at 7pm at the Dandenong Council Chambers, 225 Lonsdale St, Dandenong (cnr Walker St) is critically important.
I need you there!
|a) An 8 min
- Currently there is no limit and yet public Council meetings still rarely go for more than 2 1/2 hours (and often earlier).
- 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 short questions to be asked and answered. These three questions may only be about one issue!
|b) Not implementing verbal question time
- At the moment residents have to submit a form (paper or online) and the CEO reads out their questions at the Council meeting.
- 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 – include Knox and Monash nearby.
|c) Having public question time not at the start of the meeting
- The previous draft had the public question time near the start of the meeting (after planning items).
- Now it has been moved to the middle of the meeting (before Councillor question time).
- This will mean that public questions will now be asked after all of the agenda items have been considered