Council record higher than average decisions behind closed doors

Have you ever noticed at the end of a council meeting, the doors will close and there will be a private discussion? This is known as closed council and in the Northern Grampians it is quite a common occurrence for some topics to be discussed in this way. Across Victoria, the state average percentage of council resolutions made at an ordinary or special meeting of council (or at a meeting of a special committee consisting only of councillors) closed to the public was 9.84 per cent in 2019-20. But in the Northern Grampians between 2019-20, 26.92 per cent of council resolutions made at an ordinary or special meeting of council (or at a meeting of a special committee consisting only of councillors) were closed to the public. Additionally, across similar councils in Victoria, the average percentage of council resolutions made at an ordinary or special meeting of council (or at a meeting of a special committee consisting only of councillors) closed to the public was 11.21 per cent in 2019-20. So why is there a much higher rate of closed council decisions in the Northern Grampians? READ MORE: Norther Grampians Shire Council mayor Murray Emerson explains. “We hold a closed council meeting or close a section of a council meeting for confidential discussion and decision making to abide by legal requirements that necessitate maintaining confidentiality of the affected parties,” he said. “The legal requirements of what constitutes a confidential item are defined in section three the Local Government Act 2020. “In the past year, 16 of the 28 decisions we made during closed council related to contracts for the purchase of goods and services. OTHER NEWS: “A further eight decisions related to requests for financial assistance. “The final four decisions made in camera concerned the Sloane Street development, sale of land, a request to waive rates for charitable purposes and the appointment of our chief executive officer.” Cr Emerson said an increased strain on businesses had led to the need for more discussion in closed council. “There has been a lot of strain on businesses, developers and event organisers over the course of the pandemic and most people would certainly understand our need to close a meeting to the public when discussing matters of such a sensitive and private nature,” he said. “The Local Government Act determines what other items must be discussed in a closed setting.” If you can see this message, you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Stawell Times-News, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you very much for your support and for allowing us to continue telling Stawell’s story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great town.

/images/transform/v1/crop/frm/118094657/9cd78391-f6cb-4105-81f8-130b35a60024.jpg/r3_0_1198_675_w1200_h678_fmax.jpg

Have you ever noticed at the end of a council meeting, the doors will close and there will be a private discussion?

This is known as closed council and in the Northern Grampians it is quite a common occurrence for some topics to be discussed in this way.

Across Victoria, the state average percentage of council resolutions made at an ordinary or special meeting of council (or at a meeting of a special committee consisting only of councillors) closed to the public was 9.84 per cent in 2019-20.

But in the Northern Grampians between 2019-20, 26.92 per cent of council resolutions made at an ordinary or special meeting of council (or at a meeting of a special committee consisting only of councillors) were closed to the public.

Additionally, across similar councils in Victoria, the average percentage of council resolutions made at an ordinary or special meeting of council (or at a meeting of a special committee consisting only of councillors) closed to the public was 11.21 per cent in 2019-20.

So why is there a much higher rate of closed council decisions in the Northern Grampians?

Norther Grampians Shire Council mayor Murray Emerson explains.

“We hold a closed council meeting or close a section of a council meeting for confidential discussion and decision making to abide by legal requirements that necessitate maintaining confidentiality of the affected parties,” he said.

“The legal requirements of what constitutes a confidential item are defined in section three the Local Government Act 2020.

“In the past year, 16 of the 28 decisions we made during closed council related to contracts for the purchase of goods and services.

“A further eight decisions related to requests for financial assistance.

“The final four decisions made in camera concerned the Sloane Street development, sale of land, a request to waive rates for charitable purposes and the appointment of our chief executive officer.”

Cr Emerson said an increased strain on businesses had led to the need for more discussion in closed council.

“There has been a lot of strain on businesses, developers and event organisers over the course of the pandemic and most people would certainly understand our need to close a meeting to the public when discussing matters of such a sensitive and private nature,” he said.

“The Local Government Act determines what other items must be discussed in a closed setting.”

If you can see this message, you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Stawell Times-News, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you very much for your support and for allowing us to continue telling Stawell’s story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great town.

Related Posts

Next Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Premium Content

Welcome Back!

Login to your account below

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.

Add New Playlist

Are you sure want to unlock this post?
Unlock left : 0
Are you sure want to cancel subscription?