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Time to lift your game councillors

The Beagle Editor, Councillors are elected to represent the community’s views and interests. Their Oath/Affirmation is clearly set out in the Local Government Act:

Oath I [name of councillor] swear that I will undertake the duties of the office of councillor in the best interests of the people of [name of council area] and the [name of council] and that I will faithfully and impartially carry out the functions, powers, authorities and discretions vested in me under the Local Government Act 1993 or any other Act to the best of my ability and judgment.

We see that Clr Mayne will be ‘tabling’ the open letter to the mayor regarding the climate change issue published recently in the Beagle. But what does ‘tabling’ mean? Does it go far enough? Tabling, in the English language means “present formally for discussion or consideration at a meeting”. Clr Mayne points out that a motion to acknowledge ‘climate change’ has already been put to this group of councillors and was lost. So will the tabling of this letter and the ‘discussion’ around it produce any change of attitude? We shall see.

While Clr Mayne is on the front foot representing the community, he may also wish to put these motions onto the agenda

  1. That Council staff notify the community of all upcoming council meetings/agendas in a timely manner, once the agenda is set, onto its Facebook page.

  2. That Council staff notify the community of the process they need to go through in order to take part in the council meeting during public forum, on its Facebook page.

  3. That Council staff publish the recording/webcast of council meetings on its Facebook page.

  4. That Council resume its meetings in the chambers and re-open the public gallery in accordance with directions/restrictions received from the Office of Local Government.

  5. That Council staff resume live streaming/recording of Public Forum sessions.

Background

Presently, council staff notify the public of upcoming meetings via its website. Interested parties must navigate their way through council’s website to find the relevant information. This is cumbersome and clunky for many in the community and, for some, impossible. As to the new layout and the new search facility....

Council has a Facebook page with several hundred followers. For better communication and transparency, a simple notice on council’s Faceook page would have the potential to inform thousands of community members with the ‘sharing’ tool available for noticeboards throughout the shire and beyond.

It makes sense to keep the community informed of council meetings via all available outlets, particularly social media/Facebook/noticeboards. Very few people bother to buy the local paper any more so printing the Noticeboards there alone and having on Council's website is simply not trying to communicated. Instead Council should "fish where the fish are".

Many councils throughout NSW include Public Forum as part of its meeting which is live streamed and recorded.. Eurobodalla Shire Council should reinstate the live streaming/recording of Public Forum sessions as was previously the case. There is no reasonable/acceptable legal argument against doing so.

With the local council elections to be held on 4th September 2021, many in the community will be looking closely at candidates seeking re election and assessing their scorecards. Many long time residents will remember just who has represented the community ‘to the best of their ability in the best interests of the people’ and who did not.

One of the matters that Batemans Bay residents will remember is that Clrs Innes, Pollock, Brown, Thomson, Nathan and Tait went against community sentiment and voted to go ahead with leasing OUR Community Centre. Clrs Mayne, McGinlay and Constable voted against this proposal. Coral Anderson

Our Council Our Say


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