Thursday, May 30, 2024

Yarra adopts new governance rules

Yarra City Council has updated its governance rules following an extensive review and community consultation process. 

Council says the updated rules improve transparency in decision-making and ensure that council meeting processes are clear and fair for the benefit of both the community and Councillors. 

“We undertook an extensive review of our governance rules in early 2022 as part of our ongoing commitment to ensuring our decision-making processes are best-practice and contemporary,” Council said in a statement.

“The review aimed to ensure our governance rules provide clear guidance on decision-making processes and community participation in council meetings, while importantly, maintaining the need for robust councillor debate.”

It included the input of Yarra’s Municipal Monitor and Councillors, as well as benchmarking against other metropolitan councils. The proposed rule changes were released for community feedback in June-July, with 70 items of feedback received. 

The updated rules include:

  • Provisions to allow extra time for people requiring additional assistance to speak at council meetings (e.g. people needing the support of a translator);
  • Introducing a process for the receipt of electronic petitions;
  • Clearer language and definitions;
  • Flexibility to enable members of the public to address Council meetings in a way tailored to the specific matter being considered, while ensuring there is a right to be heard on all matters before a decision is made;
  • Removal of provisions which had limited the ability for all Councillors to speak during a debate;
  • Amendments to the speaking times for Councillors and members of the public, to ensure consistency and the efficient running of council meetings, while still providing space for robust questioning and debate;
  • The replacement of the previously complex Points of Order process.

The updated governance rules also make permanent the previously temporary provisions enabling the conduct of electronic Council meetings which became necessary during the pandemic.

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