Council's Public Forum rules are worth Diddly Squat

The Beagle Editor, Your readers, especially those who follow council matters, might be interested in the following.


It has been confirmed that Council’s Public Forum rules are worth Diddly Squat.

Contained within council’s new Code of Meeting Practice and falling under the General Manager’s area of responsibility, the Code was devised by staff and approved by councillors on 11th June.

Community submissions condemned Public Forum provisions due to their impact on transparency and accountability, while endowing the General Manager with the power to stifle community input.

One submission, contributed by Peter Cormick, suggested “it makes perfect sense to exclude public forum from the Code of Meeting Practice, since it does not form part of the meeting.”

Staff response to this suggestion, “the OLG have recommended that the Public Forum form part of the Model Code of Meeting Practice......”

However, it was Mr Cormick’s words that were echoed in the advice supplied by the OLG(11 July, see below).

Needless to say, this advice will necessitate the removal of Public Forum rules from council’s Meeting Code to form a separate code.

This need was also recommended by Mr Cormick,  “I recommend that Public Forum clauses 3.1 to 3.26 be removed from the Code ........ and be placed in a stand alone code of practice document titled Public Forum.”

Staff response to this suggestion, “It is not considered necessary to have a separate Code for Public Forum.”

It is shameful that councillors refuse to consider community input, particularly from those who have proved themselves as being well informed, knowledgeable and experienced in the affairs of local government.

There is no point in seeking community views and advice if it is to be completely disregarded by councillors who always defer to the General Manager instead.

I guess it’s just easier to obey, ‘she who must be obeyed.’

Patricia Gardiner

Deua River Valley