Call for virtual meeting option to become permanent

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Council will write to the Minister for Local Government requesting that the ability to hold virtual meetings be made permanent.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Victorian Government in April passed legislation which allowed for councillors or members to participate in virtual meetings, including council, committee and governing body meetings, until 1 November 2020.

Since then, a large number of meetings relating to council business have been held remotely, including last night’s council meeting.

The council group believes there are many benefits to virtual meetings, including that a mildly unwell councillor can still remotely attend a meeting and contribute, while demonstrating responsible social distancing. Remote attendance also supports councillors who travel long distances to get to City Hall or have no access to reliable transport and those with family commitments or health reasons that prevent them from attending in person.

Following a successful Notice of Motion (NoM) from Cr Jim Mason last night, the City’s CEO will also investigate online platforms that support a suitable hybrid model for virtual meetings.

The NoM also states that the Council should advocate more broadly for virtual meetings to continue by moving a motion at the next Municipal Association of Victoria State Council meeting seeking a permanent change.

Council meetings have been held without the public present since March to reduce the spread of coronavirus, however they continue to be live streamed.

Councillor Jim Mason

Being able to hold virtual meetings has been essential for council and committee business to continue safely during the pandemic. It’s incumbent upon us to show leadership when it comes to community transmission and allow for councillors and members to attend meetings virtually when unwell, while others are meeting face to face.

The council group will continue to advocate for the legislation to be permanently changed.

Page last updated: Wednesday, 29 July 2020