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Towards greater transparency and participation

Democracy is precious. The current Eurobodalla Shire Council  has reduced the opportunity for public participation and has made decision making opaque and inconsistent with the community’s wishes. We will reintroduce open and accountable decision making. Debate that is stifled leads to poor decision-making because all views are not heard.

The MAYNE Team is committed to encouraging participation from the community by ensuring that the Council's decision-making process is transparent.

Live streaming

The MAYNE Team will improve transparency by opening up access to opinion and debate.

The MAYNE Team will reintroduce the live streaming of the current Public Access Sessions and the Public Forum.

Public Access and Public Forum

Public Access Sessions are currently designed to enable the community to address the Council on matters that are not on the Council’s agenda that immediately follows them. Public Forum is designed to facilitate community input on matters that are on the Council’s agenda that immediately follows. At present Public Access and Public Forum alternate with each fortnightly Council meeting.

The MAYNE Team will remove the distinction between Public Access and Public Forum. Before each Council meeting there will be a Public Forum with no restriction on whether the topic raised is on the Council agenda.

Mobility

The MAYNE Team will improve access for the community by:

  • changing the location of the Council meeting: why should they always be in Moruya?

  • changing the time of the Council meeting; can we not improve access for people who are at work during the day?

Press access

The MAYNE Team will improve transparency by facilitating access to appropriately accredited members of the press. 

The day of the Council meeting

The MAYNE Team proposes that the timetable for the day of each Council meeting run as follows:

0830: Briefing

The General Manager will brief members of the Council on the day’s agenda and draw attention to matters requiring special attention. This briefing session will be open to accredited members of the press as observers, viz. they cannot speak but they will be better able to report and comment.

0930: Public Forum

The Public Forum will be attended by all Councillors and the Mayor. Any member of the community (registered to vote in Eurobodalla) may ask to address the Council at the Forum. Five days’ notice of intent to submit must be provided. Submissions will be limited to 5 minutes and supported by a written document of no more than two pages. If there is not enough time to handle all the submissions, then they will be prioritised based on whether the matter covered is on that day’s Council agenda.

1030: The Council Meeting

There will be a standing item on the Council agenda called “Matters arising from the Forum submissions”. This item will allow for a discussion, guided by the General Manager, of all the submissions received and what action may need to be taken to address them.

Furthermore, and in the interests of accessibility and good communication, no supporting paper to any agendum – whether or not it relates to the Forum – will be longer than 2 pages (excluding, in exceptional circumstances, technical supporting data). All documents will be written to inform the public and not simply to discharge some public responsibility.

When elected, the The MAYNE Team will:

  

  1. combine the Public Access and the Public Forum into a single Public Forum event that will happen before every Council meeting

  2. restore live-streaming of the Public Forum

  3. admit the press as observers at the Council briefing immediately before the Pubic Forum and Council meeting

  4. add a standing item to discuss the preceding Public Forum to the agenda of each Council meeting

  5. treat attendance at the Public Forum in the same way as attendance at the Council meeting

  6. vary the time and location of each Council meeting

 

25 August 2021