With the making of the Regulatory Legislation Amendment (Reform) Act 2022, the Local Government Act 2020 (the Act) requires a council to update its Governance Rules to provide for participation by councillors in council meetings by electronic means of communication. The legislation also makes permanent the need to live stream any meeting that is held solely by electronic means.
The council can also make other changes in light of experience since the adoption of the Governance Rules in August 2020.
The Minister for Local Government has issued Good Practice Guidelines to assist council with its responsibilities, along with model guidance for rules. In addition, Council’s lawyer, Maddocks, has updated its Governance Rules template with new rules covering physical and remote attendance at council meetings.
The amended Governance Rules take into account the guidelines issued by the Minister for Local Government, and which were developed with input from across
the local government sector. The rules are largely based on a template from council's lawyer, Maddocks.
- Removal of the Local Law heading for chapter two of the Governance Rules
- Rule 6 – significant revisions have been made to this rule to make it clear that the mayor can only be elected with an absolute majority of councillors. The rule states that a lot is only to be conducted when there are three or more candidates and one of those candidates needs to be eliminated from the count.
- An explanatory note referencing council meetings as “ordinary” or “special” – division 1. While an explanatory note is not a rule, it is considered that these meeting types are better understood by the community than fixed / non fixed or scheduled / non-scheduled.
- Rule 9 speaks about fixing the date, time and place of council meetings by resolution. A new sentence included which reads: “Meetings fixed in this way
- will be by resolution at a council meeting”.
- The period of notice include a period for “reasonable notice” – sub-rule 12.2.
- Sub-rule 16.1 – A change to the length of meetings from four hours to three hours, and a new sentence which reads: “For the avoidance of doubt, a period of adjournment is not included in the time limit”.
- A change to the explanatory note of the business order for an agenda and the deletion of several items – division 3.
- Rule 23: removed reference to ‘ensure” – replaced with: “A councillor may give notice of any business they wish to be considered at a council meeting by lodging a Notice of Motion”. Also written into sub-rule 24.2.
- The addition of an Explanatory note for “in writing” – sub-rule 24.3.
- A change to the speaking times – rule 42.
- A removal of the requirement that persons be in the public gallery to submit a question for Question Time. Guidelines on Question Time to be issued by the
- CEO, rather than adopted by Council – rule 62.
- Provide for the acceptance of electronic petitions without the need for council issued guidelines – sub-rule 63.2.
- At the discretion of the Chair the recording of councillor votes in the minutes – rule 64 and sub-rule 74.1.7.
- Rules 65 and 68 - Consequential changes to voting arising from the new legislation providing for electronic attendance at meetings.
- Clarification with the requirement to declare a conflict of interest, distinguishing between a general and a material conflict of interest – sub-rule 74.1.4 of chapter two and chapter five.
- A new division 15 in chapter two of the rules “Physical and remote attendance”.
- Reflect the repeal of certain provisions in the Local Government Act 1989.
- Adopt more gender neutral language.