Public Access

Overview

Public Access is an open forum where all members of the public are welcome to attend.

It allows members of the public to address Councillors on items at upcoming Council Meetings.

Public Access takes place the day prior to a Council Meeting at 5pm.

There are a maximum of 10 five minute spots available on the night, with only one speaker for and one speaker against an item.

Meetings are live-streamed and available to the public via the internet.

Register for Public Access

If you wish to speak at Public Access you must officially register by contacting Council on (02) 4232 0444.

Requests can be made to our General Manager's office between 9.30am the Friday prior to a Council Meeting, and no later than 3pm the day of Public Access.  

Your request must indicate whether you are in favour of, or against, the recommendation(s) of the report.  

The General Manager has delegation to refuse an application to speak at Public Access.

If this occurs, the reasons for refusal must be provided in writing.

Public Access items are scheduled in the same order as items appear on the meeting agenda.

Public Access speakers can speak on a maximum of 2 items.

If more than 1 member of the public registers to speak in support of an item, it is possible to share the 5 minute time slot.

If more than the permitted number of speakers apply to speak, the General Manager can consult with the Mayor to increase the number of speakers if they are satisfied that it is necessary to do so.

Speaking at Public Access

Councillors will be invited to ask any questions at the end of your 5 minutes.

If you intend on using visual aids, such as a PowerPoint presentation or images in support of their argument, you must supply a USB to Council before 3pm on the day of Public Access.

This will ensure there is enough time to check compatibility with Council's systems and set up supporting material.  

Speakers must not:

  • engage in disorderly conduct
  • make potentially defamatory statements, or
  • breach the Code of Meeting Practice and other relevant council codes, policies and procedures.

The Chair may call a point of order on improper behaviour and may request a speaker to apologise and withdraw any inappropriate comments.

Councillors are required to declare and manage any conflicts of interest they may have in relation to any agenda item. 

A record is kept of any such disclosure.

Formal rules for Public Access

These can be found at Section 4 of our Meeting Code of Practice.