Guidelines for addressing Council

Council actively encourages participation of residents in the decision making process and is happy to hear from people regarding matters raised in the Business Paper. As Council’s Code of Meeting Practice guides the manner in which meetings of Council are conducted it is expected that persons addressing the Council will conduct themselves in an appropriate manner in accordance with the Code. The Code is available to view on the Council’s website (Procedure 5.1.4 - Code of Meeting Practice), at the Kempsey Library, and upon request from the Customer Service Centre.

Note: Section 2.2.2 Addressing of Council meetings by Members of the Public

Council’s practice has been to allow the public to participate to the fullest extent within legal limitations and meeting procedure, at all Council meetings. The exception is with regard to confidential matters.

The Mayor may grant permission for individuals to address Council meetings on specific topics contained in the business paper at the Public Forum session of the Council meeting.

Council will allow members of the public to address Council during the public forum on matters not on the meeting agenda subject to the following:

  • Priority shall be given to speakers addressing matters on the agenda.
  • A précis of the address will be provided in writing to the General Manager at least two working days prior to the meeting.
  • Council has the right to refuse permission if the matter is one which will be the subject of a report to a subsequent Council meeting or a matter where a speaker has addressed a previous Council meeting in the public forum.

People wishing to address Council need to contact the Mayor prior to the meeting.

The period for such addresses has been fixed at a maximum of five (5) minutes per person and any single extension of time, granted by resolution of Council, shall be limited to three (3) minutes. Council may however, by resolution, grant a single speaker multiple extensions of time. The mayor may restrict the number of individuals speaking on the same topic to one for the proposal and to one against the proposal.

Members of the community shall be treated impartially and equitably when applying to speak in the public forum. If members of the public comply with Council’s guidelines in relation to speaking in the public forum at Council meetings, then the mayor must allow them to speak, subject to the limitation in the Code of Meeting Practice on the number of speakers to be heard.

No discussion by Councillors is allowed on any such speech, except with the concurrence of the Mayor. Questions of the addressee by Councillors should be directed through the Mayor, you do not have the opportunity to ask Councillors questions.

Where a member of the public addresses Council on an item on the agenda, the Director responsible for the report is to be given the right to respond to issues raised prior to the report being dealt with by Council.”

Council will allow members of the public to address Council meetings on issues which are not on the agenda. This will be subject to priority being given to speakers on agenda items, a summary being provided to the General Manager two working days before the meeting and speakers being refused if they have already spoken on a matter to a previous Council meeting.

Respondents and objectors, or other interested parties are given the opportunity to address Council on any issue contained within the Business Paper to a maximum of one speaker “For” and/or one speaker “Against”. Public Forum speakers are given up to a maximum of five minutes speaking time each. Councillors will have the opportunity to ask you questions if they wish, you do not have the opportunity to ask Councillors questions.

All proponents and respondents wishing to speak at the meeting must make application, by completing, signing and lodging the form Application to address a Council Meeting, prior to addressing the meeting, either electronically, by hand or mail no later than close of business (4:30pm) the day before the meeting. The Mayor may grant permission to address Council and the applicant will be notified prior to the meeting.

If you have been granted permission to address Council in the Public Forum you will be expected to arrive at the Council Civic Centre, corner Elbow and Tozer Streets, West Kempsey on the morning of the meeting no later than 8:45am. Alternatively if you decide that you no longer wish to address Council please notify by phone as soon as possible. As a rule Council meetings are held on the third Tuesday of each month and start at 9:00am sharp. If meetings are changed alternative dates are widely advertised.

Presentation of written material

If you have material such as written statements, drawings or photographs that you believe substantiate your view and wish to have them distributed to Councillors, please provide ten (10) copies to the Executive Assistant by close of business the day prior to the meeting. This material is to be viewed and subsequently approved by the General Manager prior to distribution on the day.

Electronic information

Any person who wishes to make an electronic presentation e.g. PowerPoint, should advise the Executive Assistant (lynne.odwyer@kempsey.nsw.gov.au) or phone 02 6566 3320 by 4:30pm two (2) days prior to the meeting so our IT Department can arrange technical support for your presentation.

Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act

The details provided in this application form may contain information that is personal information, such as information that identifies you etc., for the purposes of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act.

The purpose of collecting this information is to enable the Council to maintain a record of those persons who wish to address a meeting of the Council about items on the agenda and to highlight to those persons the relevant provisions relating to the conduct of a meeting as contained in Council’s Code of Meeting Practice. The information may also be made available to other persons where such access is in accordance with the relevant regulations and requirements in this regard, access to documents under Section 12 (6) of the Local Government Act.

The submission of personal information with your application is required under Council’s Code of Meeting Practice if you wish to address the meeting. The information will ultimately be stored in Council’s records system.

The purpose of collecting this information is to enable the Council to maintain a record of those persons who wish to address a meeting of the Council about items on the agenda and to highlight to those persons the relevant provisions relating to the conduct of a meeting as contained in Council’s Code of Meeting Practice. The information may also be made available to other persons where such access is in accordance with the relevant regulations and requirements in this regard, access to documents under Section 12 (6) of the Local Government Act.

The submission of personal information with your application is required under Council’s Code of Meeting Practice if you wish to address the meeting. The information will ultimately be stored in Council’s records system.

Frequently asked questions

What time should I arrive and where is the meeting held?
Please be at Council around 8:45am and inform the Executive Assistant of your arrival, you may then make your way up the stairs and into the Council Chambers.
Where should I wait to address Council prior to the Meeting?
Members of the public who have nominated to address Council should be seated in the public gallery area of the Council chambers.
How will I know when to address Council?
Shortly after the commencement of the meeting, the Mayor will call on individuals to address the Council. Persons called should make their way to the lectern at the front of the Council Chambers.
What protocol should be observed?
During your address you should maintain accepted protocol, as per the Code of Conduct, and identify the elected members as “Councillors” or “Mayor”.
What should I do at the end of my address?
The Mayor will thank you for your address and you may either return to the public gallery area or leave the meeting if you wish.
When will the matter be considered by Council?
Items on the Agenda which are the subject of a public address are usually considered at the completion of Public Forum.