Image by Photoholgic

Council hiding from transparency

bud-helisson-kqguzgvYrtM-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Bud Helisson on Unsplash

Public access sessions are designed to be the forum where members of the public can raise any council related issues with Councillors. Designed to provide open access and transparency but these days they have clearly become a non-event with Council having moved them to a monthly session held before briefings. They are not live streamed, presenters are strictly limited to 7 minutes, and in some cases, questions are being incorrectly disallowed.

Last Tuesday’s public access session is a prime example of how our council is treating its citizens.

This session had just one presenter, Simon Cox, representing Coila Cultural Heritage and Environment Group (CCHEG). One presenter, who was abruptly stopped at the seven-minute mark. One presenter who was not afforded the chance to be asked questions because he was told, incorrectly, that as a spokesperson, he could not take questions on behalf of CCHEG. A diplomatic, articulate presenter. That’s your seven minutes - next. But there was no next, which hardly comes as a surprise.

Under current management, addressing our Council is an act of futility and bravery. To stand before council you are likely to be faced with executive staff scrolling on their phones, paying no attention or, if present, angry glares from the Mayor.

If you do get a question, it will likely be something silly or condescending, but largely, your words will drift out of the windows of the Eurobodalla Shire fortress and dissipate into Campbell Street. 

Other than shutting the public forum down entirely, your Council has taken every step it can to minimise engagement with the community. An act which Anthony Mayne has vehemently opposed. 

In the words of Simon Cox, “There seems to be no transparent process by which valid issues raised by the community are reviewed, assessed and shared back with the community in terms of what the Council see as important. It basically means the exercise is simply a tick in the box with Council free to ignore community requests.”

If elected, The Mayne Team will restore public access to operate as intended, to shine a light in dark corners and raise issues of concern. 

We will reinstate public access to be held prior to every council meeting and be included in the live stream of Council meetings.  We will also apply the rules for speakers to all those present in the chamber, including Councillors and staff - no mobile phones, resist from making personal or derogatory comments and ensure mutual respect is shown to all.

When elected, the The MAYNE Team will:

  

  • restore public access to operate as intended, to shine a light in dark corners and raise issues of concern.

See here for more detail.

 

23 August 2021