Council meeting room with microphones.

The City of Greater Bendigo, in an effort to keep council meetings as accessible and productive as possible, has announced it will be trialling new changes to its monthly meetings.

For all remaining Council meetings in 2023:

  • Anyone wanting to attend a monthly Council meeting in the Bendigo Town Hall and sit in the public gallery must show photo identification on entry
  • Anyone wanting to have a question answered as part of question time must lodge it by 4pm on the Friday before the scheduled monthly Council meeting, held on the fourth Monday of the month – there will be no opportunity for members of the gallery to ask questions on the night

The trial changes come as other Councils also make changes to improve meeting conduct. 

Yarra City Council requires residents to pre-register if they want to attend a meeting in person and ask a question, and they must submit their question prior to the meeting. While the City of Monash also requires questions to be submitted prior to the meeting.

City of Greater Bendigo’s Director of Corporate Performance, Jessica Howard, said the trial changes were designed to keep Council meetings open, accessible and safe for the community to attend.

“We have seen some metropolitan councils experience significant disruption and have to temporarily close meetings. While we have been fortunate not to experience the same problems locally, we want to ensure our Council meetings remain that way,” Ms Howard said.

“It is important that everyone feels safe attending Council meetings and that we can create an environment that allows us to maintain good, transparent governance and is inclusive of all people in our community.

“By asking for pre-registered questions, this allows residents to still have their questions answered on the night and provides more opportunity to give a detailed response.

“It’s also important to note that asking questions at a Council meeting is just one way our community can seek information from Council. They can still phone us on 1300 002 642, email requests@bendigo.vic.gov.au or lodge a request via our website.

“Following the December Council meeting, Council will review whether there will be any permanent change to meeting processes.”

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