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All Kinds of Wonderful or All Kinds of Natural (justice)

Dear Beagle Editor, I’m unsure whether the information I offer is one example of “all kinds of wonderful” or “all kinds of natural (justice)”, but it’s definitely good news. PUBLIC FORUM DILEMMA CLARIFIED,AS OLG APOLOGISES FOR ANY ‘MISUNDERSTANDING’. In correspondence received yesterday, 5th Aug 2019, the Office of Local Government has confirmed that the rules governing Public Forums (and Public Access) are subject to the provisions of Council’s Code of Meeting Practice: “Where public forums do not form part of formal meetings of a council, it remains open to the council to include rules governing the conduct of public forums in its adopted code of meeting practice. This is expressly contemplated by the Model Code of Meeting Practice for Local Councils in NSW which contains non mandatory rules for public forums for inclusion by councils in their adopted codes of meeting practice.” “Where the rules governing a council’s public forums are contained in its adopted code of meeting practice, public forums are subject to the provisions of the council’s code of meeting practice that apply to them regardless of whether they form part of or are held prior to a formal meeting of the council." This is welcome news, as the Model Meeting Code is made under section 360 of the LGA and applies to, “all meetings of council and committees of councils of which all members are councillors” (Model Code Introduction), as does Council’s own Meeting Code in its Introduction. It is verification that ESC’s Public Forum is “a meeting of council” as it is covered under both Codes and the LGA. And as such, must be webcast as required by the Model Meeting Code 5.19, “All meetings of council and committees of council are to be webcast on the council’s website.” It also means that council must remove from its Code, provision 3.12 “Public Forum will not be webcast” as both the LGA and Model Code state,“A code adopted or amended by the council must not contain provisions that are inconsistent with mandatory provisions.” Webcasting is a mandatory provision for all meetings of council. The OLG’s apology for “the misunderstanding” is totally unnecessary. This clarification will be celebrated by all those unable to physically attend council chambers to witness the most important aspect of the democratic process at the local government level – public involvement/interaction with their elected representatives. It also provides public access the views and concerns of fellow ratepayers. Patricia Gardiner Deua River Valley

Your move Council.....

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