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Public Participation at Council Meetings

Due to COVID-19 restrictions Council Meetings are currently be held virtually via Zoom and livestreamed on Council’s Facebook page. Members of the public wishing to address Council can still do so either virtually or by having their deputation read by the Chief Executive Officer on their behalf.

Types of Public Participation at Council Meetings

There are three types of public participation at Southern Grampians Shire Council Meetings:

1. Deputations
2. Public Question Time
3. Addressing Council in relation to Agenda Items

When addressing Council all members of the public must extend due courtesy and respect to the Council, Councillors and the processes under which it operates. If a member of the public fails to do this the Chairperson can remove them from the Chambers.

All members of the public must also comply with the Council Meetings policy in relation to meeting procedures and public participation at meetings.

More information on each type of participation is available below and in the Council Meetings Policy.

Deputations

Deputations are where a smaller group, representing a larger group, makes a presentation to Council. The presentation can be on any topic, it does not need to be in relation to an item on that meeting's agenda.

Deputations from the public are welcome at any of Council's Ordinary Meetings, held on the second Wednesday of each month.

Speaking time is limited to 3 minutes per person. Organisations may be represented at the deputation to Council by not more than 4 representatives. The names of the representatives to attend must be advised in writing to the Chief Executive Officer and 1 of the representatives to attend must be nominated as the principal spokesperson for the deputation.

Deputations wishing to make a written submission to the Council must provide a copy, either electronically or hard copy of the submission to the Chief Executive Officer prior to the Ordinary Council Meeting. One copy will be made available to the local media representative, if requested.

If you wish to make a Deputation to Council please complete the Deputation Form and forward it to the Chief Executive Officer at 111 Brown Street, Hamilton or council@sthgrampians.vic.gov.au no later than 5pm on the Monday before the Ordinary Meeting of Council.

Public Question Time

Members of the public are welcome to ask questions of Council at its Ordinary Meetings, held on the second Wednesday in every month. The questions can be on any topic, it does not need to be in relation to an item on that meeting's agenda.

A maximum of two questions can be asked per person.

Questions must be submitted through completion of the Public Question Time form, and forwarded to the Chief Executive Officer at 111 Brown Street, Hamilton or council@sthgrampians.vic.gov.au by no later than 5pm on the Monday before the Ordinary Meeting of Council. Questions cannot be asked verbally at the Council Meeting.

Questions must:
1. Not pre-empt debate on any matter listed on the agenda of the Ordinary Meeting at which the question is asked
2. Not refer to matters designated as confidential under the Local Government Act 1989.
3. Be clear and unambiguous and not contain argument on the subject.
4. Not be derogatory, defamatory or embarrassing to any Councillor, member of staff, ratepayer or member of the public, nor relate to a matter beyond the power of Council.

The Mayor has the right to accept or reject any question. A Councillor or officer may decline to answer a question, or seek to have the question put on notice, or provide a detailed written response within ten days.

At the Council Meeting the Mayor will state the name of the person asking each question. If the person is in the Council Chambers the questions and answers will be read aloud. If not, the questions and answers will be published in the Meeting Minutes and a written response provided.

Speaking to an Agenda Item

Members of the public are welcome to address Council Meetings in relation to any items on the public agenda.

Anyone wishing to address Council must complete the Request to Address Council form and forward it to the Chief Executive Officer at 111 Brown Street, Hamilton or council@sthgrampians.vic.gov.au no later than 12 noon on the day of the Council Meeting.

Speaking time is limited to 3 minutes per person.

Petitions

A petition is a formal written document, signed by many people, which requests action in relation to an issue.

Petition is one of the traditional ways in which community members can make a request directly to Council in relation to a Council issue.

Petitions must adhere to certain standards to ensure that the intended message is conveyed in a clear and succinct manner.

Some of the requirements for submitting a petition to Council are:
•A petition should be addressed to the Council, a Councillor or the CEO;
•A petition must be clearly written, typed or printed, and be signed by at least 5 people;
•Every page of the petition must contain the request of the petitioners/signatories;
•The request suggestion or grievance must be set out using language that is respectful and not offensive;
•Every petitioner/signatory must sign the petition only once, directly onto the petition form;
•Every page of the petition must be a single page of paper. It is not acceptable for signatures to be cut and pasted or otherwise affixed or transferred to the petition;
•The pages of a petition must be free from erasures and alterations.

A petition template is available here, use of this template is not a requirement but petitions submitted to Council should comply with the above requirements and be in a similar format to the template provided.

A petition can be either posted or delivered in person to the Chief Executive Officer at 111 Brown Street, Hamilton. All petitions must be received by no later than 5pm on the Monday before the Ordinary Meeting of Council.

Once the petition is received it will be presented to Council at the next Ordinary Meeting. The Council may resolve that the petition be received and referred to the relevant area of Council for investigation. A Report will then be prepared and presented to a subsequent Ordinary Council Meeting for a formal decisions. However, if the petition relation to an operational matter, Council must refer it to the relevant Director for consideration. Once a decision has been made in relation to the matters raised in the petition, the head/principal petitioner will be advised in writing of the decision.

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