Council Meetings To Reopen To The Public
Members of the public will once again be able to attend Council Meetings in-person, starting April 2021.
With restrictions eased, members of the public will be able to attend the Council Meeting on Tuesday 27 April at the Golden Plains Civic Centre in Bannockburn. In line with remaining density limits and Council’s COVID-Safe Plan, the public gallery will be limited to 25 visitors, who will be required to sign-in with a QR-code on arrival. The Meeting will begin with an award presentation and citizenship ceremony, with seating priority for the recipients and their families. Other members of the public will be able to register online from next Friday 23 April to reserve a seat, with any remaining seats available to those who turn up on the day without registering.
Last year, the Victorian Parliament passed emergency COVID-19 legislation that allowed councils to close meetings to public attendance until 26 April 2021, among a range of other measures to ensure councils could continue their essential work while adhering to public health and safety. This legislation has since been extended to 26 April 2022.
During this period, Council livestreamed meetings on its YouTube channel and made a recording of each broadcast available on its website the following day. With purpose-built broadcasting technology funded by a Victorian Government COVID-19 grant program, livestreaming of Council Meetings will remain a permeant feature, as public gallery attendance returns. In addition, residents who submit public question, and applicants and objectors to planning matters will continue to have the option of addressing Council Meetings held in Bannockburn virtually if they are unable to attend the meeting in-person.
Mayor Cr Helena Kirby says the reopening of the public gallery is one of the last major services to resume following changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Council is excited to be able to once again open its doors to members of the community to watch our Council Meetings in-person. In line with Government guidelines, we are able to open up the public gallery to 25 visitors at the Golden Plains Civic Centre, ensuring Council Meetings remain a COVID-Safe environment for members of the public, staff and Councillors.
“This is particularly exciting for Council, as it will be the first time we’ve been able to share the new Council Chamber with our residents due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As density limits further ease, we look forward to welcoming more members of our community at Council meetings in the future.
“When meetings were closed to in-person attendance, Council introduced livestreaming to ensure our residents could still access the meetings online in real-time. This also had the added benefit of overcoming the challenges of our large Shire, allowing residents to watch the meetings from home wherever they may live.”
The following Council Meeting will be held at the Linton Shire Hall, 68 Sussex Street on 25 May 2021. Due to the smaller space and density limits, public attendance will be capped at four people.
For more information on Council Meetings, including reserving a public gallery seat, meeting dates, agendas and how to submit a Public Question, visit goldenplains.vic.gov.au/meetings.