Council Meetings Continue Electronically During Public Health Emergency

Council Meetings Continue Electronically During Public Health Emergency

Western Australia Minister for Local Government David Templeman

Council Meetings To Continue Electronically During Emergencies

Victor P Taffa

  • New regulations allow council meetings to continue electronically during a public health emergency or state of emergency
  • Local governments are now allowed to hold meetings via teleconference, video conference or other electronic means
  • Local governments will continue to make decisions in the best interest of their communities and help reduce the impact of COVID-19 

As the level of government closest to the community, local governments are feeling the impacts of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is important that local governments are able to continue to support their communities during the pandemic, so we have fast-tracked mechanisms for them to continue holding council meetings and achieve quorums.” Minister for Local Government David Templeman said.

“Local governments have an important role to play and the State Government is doing everything it can to provide the necessary tools and supports during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

There are increased challenges for local governments, especially in relation to holding meetings while dealing with social distancing and possible individual self-isolation.

State Government has responded to these challenges with new regulations that allow council meetings to continue electronically during a public health emergency or state of emergency.

New regulations, to take effect on Thursday, will enable local governments to hold meetings via teleconference, video conference or other electronic means.

Amendments will also modify provisions in the Local Government Act that relate to a notice of a meeting and public question time. If a meeting is held electronically, local governments will need to allocate time for raising questions by members of the public and provide a means for questions to be submitted prior to the meeting.

A fast-tracked application process has been introduced by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC) for local governments to seek approval for a reduced quorum at meetings.

DLGSC has also established a working group with the Western Australian Local Government Association, and is continually working to provide guidance to the sector during the pandemic.