|Public Question and Submission Time Policy
||9 June 2020
||12 May 2024
||Director Governance, Strategy and Performance
||Chief Executive Officer
The purpose of this
policy is to outline the rules and guidelines by which the public asks
questions or provides information at Council meeting under section 61 of the Act
in a way that:
- provides a more resourceful and accountable
platform for the public to submit questions or provide information to be
considered at Council meetings; and
- allow Council sufficient time to consider the
issues arising from the questions or information provided.
This section defines
the key terms used in this policy.
Act - The Local Government Act (Vic) 2020
Meeting - Means an ordinary meeting
of the Council under section 61 of the Act, a joint meeting of Councils under
section 62 of the Act, a delegated committee under section 63 of the Act or a
joint delegated committee under section 64 of the Act.
Member - A Councillor or other member of a delegated committee under section 63
of the Act.
1. Public Question and Submission Time
Public Question and Submission Time will
be provided at the start of a Meeting to enable members of the public to ask
questions or make submissions to Council.
There will be no Public Question and
Submission Time at a Meeting to consider the election of the Mayor and Deputy
2. Time Allocation and Number of Questions
Forty five (45) minutes will be allocated
for Public Question and Submission Time at a Meeting. The duration of Public
Question and Submission Time may be extended by:
- the Chairperson, given due consideration to the business to
be considered at the Meeting; or
- by resolution of the Meeting.
No more than two (2) questions may be
asked or submissions made by any person at any one (1) Meeting. Questions or
submissions made over and above these requirements, at the discretion of the
- may be deferred until all other persons wishing to ask a
question or make a submission have had an opportunity to be heard; or
- may not be asked or submitted if the time allotted for public
question and submission time has expired.
A maximum time limit
of 3 minutes applies to each question asked or submission made by a person.
3. How to ask a question or make a submission
Questions to be asked or submissions to
be made at a Meeting must be in writing, and state the name and address of the
person submitting the question, and generally be in a form approved by the
Chief Executive Officer; and lodged:
- in person at any Customer Service Centre within the City; or
- electronically, by using the online form provided on
Questions and submissions lodged will be
provided to the Members by the Chief Executive Officer before the Meeting.
4. Language and Accessibility
The Chief Executive Officer will use all
reasonable endeavours to have a question or submission made in a language other
than English translated into English before the Meeting. A question or
submission that cannot be translated prior to the commencement of the Meeting
will be translated prior to the next scheduled Meeting. The submitter will be
The Chief Executive Officer will take
reasonable steps to ensure that the processes and procedures provided for in
this policy are accessible to all members of the community.
5. Questions Without Notice
At the Chairperson’s discretion, a person
can ask a question or make a submission at a Meeting without notice.
6. Responding to Questions
a Meeting, preference will be given to hear from those people who have provided
their questions or submissions to the City in writing by noon on the day prior
to the scheduled Meeting.
The Chairperson may request the Chief
Executive Officer, or the appropriate Member or a City employee, to respond to
a question or a submission. The Chairperson or the Chief Executive Officer may
reserve the right to take the question on notice and provide a written response
to the person who asked the question within seven (7) days of the Meeting.
The person’s name, question or submission, and any answer
will be recorded in the Meeting minutes.
All questions, submissions and answers must be brief, and discussion will
be entered into only for the purpose of clarification.
7. Question Eligibility
The Chairperson of a meeting may preclude
a person from asking a question or making a submission if the Chairperson
determines that it:
- relates to a matter outside the duties, functions and powers
- is defamatory, indecent, abusive, offensive, vexatious,
frivolous, irrelevant, trivial or objectionable in language;
- is the subject of a current dispute, whether formal or
informal or is of a commercially sensitive nature;
- in the Chairperson’s opinion, seeks to or has the potential
to embarrass a Member or a City employee;
- relates to the matters of the City’s personnel;
- relates to industrial matters;
- deals with subject matter already answered or declined;
- relates to contractual matters;
- relates to legal advice sought and/or obtained by Council or
- relates to matters affecting the security of a City employee or
- relates to any other matter which the Chairperson considers
would prejudice Council, a City employee, or any person; or
- relates to a matter for which the meeting would normally be
closed to the public in accordance with section 66 of the Act.
A copy of any question which has been
precluded by the Chairperson must be made available to any other Member upon
Public Question and Submission Time is
not a substitute for formal appeal and review systems, formal business
procedures, formal Council decisions and any other legal processes required for
the proper conduct of Council business.
8. Questions Considered in Bulk
Similar questions may be grouped together
and a single answer provided by the Council.
9. Number of Questions
A Member or the Chief Executive Officer
may advise the Chairperson that, in his or her opinion, any question to be
asked or information to be submitted should be given in a Meeting that is
closed to the public, stating the reasons for his or her opinion. Unless the
Members of the Meeting resolve to the contrary, the question should be asked
and answered, or the information submitted, in a Meeting closed to the public.
10. Special Consideration - COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Act 2020
The COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Act
2020 prescribes new temporary mechanisms that allows for virtual Meetings to
ensure local government decision-making can continue safely during the
coronavirus pandemic. These temporary mechanisms are in place between 1 May
2020 and 1 November 2020 (the relevant time).
relevant time, the Council and the City remain committed to the transparency of
conducting Council business and public participation in Meetings, as well as
taking steps to ensure the safety of the community, Councillors and City
- Meetings can be held remotely via
- Members of the public may not be
permitted to physically attend Meetings; and
- Public ordinary meetings of Council must
be live streamed, and public Meetings other than ordinary meetings of Council
may be recorded and the recording published on the Council’s website.
relevant time, the processes for public question and submission time at
Meetings may be varied to the following extent:
- Members of the public who wish to appear at a
Meeting may do so by providing a written question or submission to the City by using the online form provided on Council’s website and
submitting it by 12pm the day before the Meeting;
- The City will post the question, together with the appropriate
response, and/or the submission on the City’s website before the meeting;
- To ensure the health and safety of any members of
the public, Councillors, Members or City employees physically attending a
meeting, the Chief Executive Officer at their discretion will direct whether
and how questions and submissions may be read out and/or answered at a Meeting,
noting that the City is required to remove or mitigate risks associated with
the prevention and spread of COVID-19; and
- The City will
publish the question and answer and/or the submission in the minutes of the
of this Policy
Monitoring and reporting
The City’s Governance Strategy and Performance Directorate
will monitor and report on public questions and submissions as requested from
time to time.
Advice and assistance
The Responsible Officer for this policy manages the provision of advice
to the organisation regarding this policy.
The City must retain records associated with this policy and its
||ReX (Approved and archived documents folders)
The City should review and, if necessary, amend this policy within four years of the approval date.
Council Meeting Procedure Local Law