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 First Centre.

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 this form Application to address Council, 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, Cnr 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.

Upon accepting to address Council in the Public Forum the speaker must abide by the following conduct. The speaker:

  • shall be mindful of the laws relating to defamation and libel as no protection is available to them when making statements at Council meetings
  • must confine their presentation to a statement of facts
  • must not insult or make personal reflections, allegations or impute improper motives to any Councillor or member of staff
  • must not say or do anything that is inconsistent with maintaining order at the meeting or is likely to bring Council into contempt
  • must allow other speakers to put their views without interruption.

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 eg. Powerpoint, should advise the Executive Assistant ( 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.

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.