Thursday, May 30, 2024

Government support extended for online council meetings

The NSW Office of Local Government says it will continue to support local councils to function during the state’s current COVID-19 restrictions by enhancing existing laws to allow them to hold official meetings online up until December.

Minister for Local Government, Shelley Hancock (pictured) said virtual meetings will help local councils continue to make important decisions on behalf of the community while complying with Public Health Orders and minimising the spread of COVID-19.

“Councils debate and determine important community issues at meetings so it’s vital that this decision making process continues during the current phase of COVID-19 restrictions,” Mrs Hancock said.

“The regulations introduced earlier this year allow councils to meet by audio-visual link to protect councillors, staff and members of the public from COVID-19.

“With residents of Greater Sydney unable to attend a chamber in person because of current stay-at-home orders, councils meeting electronically can still provide public access by livestreaming them so locals can tune in.

“Members of the public are permitted to physically attend council meetings outside of Greater Sydney, however, councils must ensure there is four square metres of space for each resident in attendance including requirements for social distancing and the wearing of face masks.

“The NSW Government will continue to work closely with the local government sector to ensure councils, residents and businesses feel support during these incredibly challenging times.”

The Office of Local Government (OLG) will hold an online meeting for council mayors and general managers with public health and government officials to brief them about the current COVID-19 restrictions.

OLG will also issue technical advice to councils on the conduct of official council meetings in compliance with the Public Health Orders, the Minister said.

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