Governance rules updated


Hannah Hammoud

Brimbank council has endorsed its 2023 governance rules after the matter was defered at the previous council meeting.

Council was scheduled to adopt the new rules at the council meeting on August 22, but a motion moved by councillor Jasmine Ngyuen cited the need for further discussion to consider potential amendments to the rules.

“Having received feedback from the wider community … I do propose to councillors that there needs to be further consideration of the governance rules,” Cr Ngyuen said at the time.

The proposed rules had undergone a three week period of community consultation with a majority of submissions received from residents referencing concerns about the introduction of rule 55.16 that allows the chair or a nominated council staff member to choose not to read out any part of a public question that is in the nature of a submission.

The submissions objected to the new rule with concerns about the censoring or editing of public questions.

At the most recent meeting on September 19, councillors moved to endorse the new rules and acknowledged the ‘great deal’ of interest generated by the community.

Cr Victoria Borg said updates had been made to the wording of rule 55.16 which emphasised the intent of the rule was in the interest of maximising the number of questions that can be answered during the time allowed for public question time.

“Lots of robust discussions were held to make the subsequent required changes,” she said.

Rule 55.17 was also updated to make it clear that a written copy of questions submitted and the answers provided at a meeting must be published in the minutes of the meeting.

Other key changes to the governance rules include, allowing virtual meetings ongoing and to create a mode of attendance process to include whether meetings will be held in person, virtual or hybrid.