Council considers public question cutbacks

THE Derwent Valley Council will consider slashing the time allowed for public question time when it holds its monthly meeting tomorrow (Monday). In a written report, deputy general manager Robert McCrossen recommends that the council approve the following changes:

  • Reducing the time allowed for public questions from 30 minutes to 15 minutes, with provision for councillors to extend the period
  • Each member of the public is limited to two questions
  • Questions must be submitted in writing 10 minutes before the monthly meeting (increased from 5 minutes)

On the positive side, the new policy:

  • Says “questions on notice” will be answered in writing
  • Removes the individual time limit of three minutes per question
  • Includes “other administrative changes designed to improve the process of responding
  • to questions from the public” but these are not specified in the agenda.

On the whole, the new policy appears to further restrict the ability of ratepayers and residents to question the council. Notably, the new policy was not put out to the public for consultation, as shown in the following excerpt from the agenda:

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