At its 23 August meeting, Golden Plains Shire Council adopted its updated Governance Rules.
Under the Local Government Act 2020, councils must have clear, instructive and transparent Governance Rules, which cover:
- the conduct of Council meetings;
- the conduct of meetings of delegated committees;
- the form and availability of meeting records;
- the election of the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor;
- the appointment of an Acting Mayor;
- an election period policy; and
- the procedures for the disclosure of a conflict of interest.
Following a comprehensive review, and in line with recent amendments to the Local Government Act 2020, Council proposed several changes to the document to ensure the Rules comply with new requirements in relation to virtual participation in Council meetings and align Council’s Governance Rules to the best practice outlined in the Local Government Act 2020. The proposed changes to the Governance Rules included general amendments to the structure of the document, as well as the addition of explanatory and overview notes which improve the readability, flow and ease of engagement with the Rules.
The 25 proposed changes were on public exhibition from Wednesday 27 July to Wednesday 17 August, with one submission received during this period.
In response to the submission and to further facilitate public participation in Council meetings, the Governance Rules were amended before adoption to include sub-rule 71.1 (c), which allows the submitter of a public question to elect to have their question read by the Chairperson, where the Council meeting is being held virtually and they don’t wish to appear on the screen.
In addition to the changes made in relation to the submission, additional amendments were made before adoption following an ongoing review by Council officers. These amendments include:
- A requirement that if an officer report has not been provided, any motion must call for an officer report if committing to expenditure of more than $10,000 that hasn’t otherwise been budgeted for.
- Clarity in relation to further motions where a vote is taken on a matter and declared lost.
- Clarity in relation to the livestreaming of a meeting where the sole item on the agenda is deemed to be confidential.
All 25 proposed changes, as well as the additional changes, were adopted by Council at its 23 August meeting.