Community speaks up on question time

July 18, 2021 BY

Surf Coast Shire councillors are back on Zoom for two additional meetings this month to hear submissions from the community on draft Governance Rules, a draft Social Housing Plan and a concept plan for the Ocean Acres Reserve Bike Park. This image was taken during a vote last month.

SURF Coast Shire community members have told council that they want more flexibility when it comes to question time at council meetings.

The message has been conveyed to councillors via submissions responding to the draft Governance Rules changes which proposed changes to the rules around question time, which can be up to 30 minutes at the start of each monthly meeting.

More than half of the 26 submissions to the revised Governance Rules mention concerns with the time allocated for the public to ask questions of council.

The draft rules propose changing the closing time for written questions to council from 10am on the day of the meeting to 3pm the day prior to a meeting.

Among other changes, the revised version also proposes that a question can be disallowed by the chair if it relates “to a compliance or enforcement matter, or other legal proceeding” or if it aims to embarrass “individuals, parties or government agencies”.

Council received 22 objections to the draft Governance Rules and 2 submissions offering objection and support, with submitters invited to speak to their submissions at this week’s special meeting of council held via Zoom on Tuesday July 13.

Council had adopted the Governance Rules in September last year, with the requirement to review the rules within 12 months of an election.

Councillors will consider a report detailing the issues with the revised rules raised by the public at its August meeting.

Surf Coast Shire also has another special meeting scheduled for next Tuesday, July 20, to hear submissions on its draft Social Housing Plan and Ocean Acres Reserve Bike Park and Open Basin Upgrade.

Submissions to the draft Surf Coast Shire Social Housing Plan closed on June 23 and council will consider the plan and submissions at its August meeting.

People who made submissions to the draft concept plan for the Ocean Acres Reserve have also been invited to present their views to councillors via Zoom at next week’s special meeting, which starts at 6pm.