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Well prepared agendas, orderly meetings following your council’s meeting procedures and accurate minutes are important for an efficient, effective and accountable system of local government. These records are arguably the most important records that councils have.

In meetings, councils set their policies and strategic directions, make local laws and adopt corporate plans and budgets.

It is important to make careful and good decisions, as they have legal consequences. Councils can only make decisions that are within their legal authority and must make sure that the decisions are correctly recorded in the minutes.

This page focuses on meetings under the Local Government Act 2009 and Local Government Regulation 2012 for all councils except Brisbane City Council, who follow different processes.

Key resource

Download the Make the most of council meetings quick reference guide (PDF, 79KB)

On this page

Meeting dates and locations

Councils must meet at least once a month, although many larger councils meet more frequently. Each council must publish details of the days and times when both the full council and any

standing committees will meet.

Meetings are normally held at one of the council’s central offices, but councillors can decide to hold a meeting somewhere else. You can also decide to let a councillor take part in a meeting by teleconference, as long as the councillor can easily hear and be heard by every other person at the same time during the meeting.

Temporary meeting format changes

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of temporary changes have been made to the Local Government Regulation 2012 and the City of Brisbane Regulation 2012 to allow council meetings to occur via phone, teleconference or video conference. Where possible councils must use streaming or other facilities so that the public can observe or hear the meeting at one of the council’s public offices or on the council’s website.

During the COVID-19 pandemic it may not be practical for health reasons for the public to come

into a council’s public offices or to listen or observe council meetings, and the chairperson has the authority to close the meeting on health and safety grounds. These regulatory provisions expire in June 2021.

Agendas and notice of meetings

Councillors must receive written notice of the meeting at least two days before the meeting, unless this is impractical, for example during a natural disaster or emergency. Councillors in an Indigenous regional council must receive written notice at least four days before the meeting. The written notice will include an agenda of items to be discussed as well as reports or other documents that you should read.

Well structured agendas help councillors to make informed decisions that are derived from analysis and constructive debate. They also give the community details about what will be discussed at the meeting and help them to determine if they want to attend.

Preparing for meetings

When reading the agenda and any reports, councillors must:

  • identify matters of particular interest or matters that could be controversial
  • identify any matters where you might need to ask council officers for more information or help with understanding any complex issues so that you are well informed before the meeting, and contact the chief executive officer (CEO) or mayor for advice before the meeting
  • identify any matters where you have a conflict of interest, and advise the council CEO straight away
  • talk to fellow councillors about their views on the matters to be considered (unless you have a conflict of interest, because this could be seen as influencing others). 

Go to your council’s website to find upcoming meeting dates and put time in your calendar as soon as possible to make sure you have enough time to prepare. You can also check your council’s website and have a look at previous agendas that were set for past meetings.

Meeting types

Post-election meeting

The first meeting post-election must take place within 14 days after the election results are finalised. Items to be discussed at the post-election meeting include:

  • making the ‘declaration of office’ by the mayor and councillors (if they haven’t already occurred)
  • the times of future meetings
  • election of a deputy

Ordinary local government meetings

Ordinary local government meetings are held at least once a month to conduct core business and make decisions.

Committee meetings

Councils can appoint standing committees to consider and deal with certain issues, especially if there are a lot of matters to deal with and there is not enough time in the full council meetings. For example, some councils may have standing committees for infrastructure matters or development applications. These meetings have similar procedures to ordinary council meetings. They still require an agenda and publicly published minutes and they are open for the community to attend.

Advisory committees can also be appointed with both councillors and other members who are not councillors to provide advice to full council on issues such as local economic development, planning or environmental matters. Advisory committees can only provide advice and recommendations that are considered for decision by full council or standing committees.

Special meeting

A special meeting is a local government meeting at which the only business that may be conducted is as stated in the notice of the meeting. Usually the mayor and CEO will agree that a special meeting is required for a particular purpose.

Quorum

You should attend all council meetings, and for the whole meeting. If you are unable to attend a particular meeting you should advise the chairperson before the meeting of the reason why you cannot attend, and then seek leave of the council to not attend the meeting. This leave, if approved by other councillors, will then be recorded in the minutes.

The minimum number of councillors who must be present for a meeting to proceed is called the quorum, which at a local government is a majority of councillors including the mayor. If the number of councillors is an even number, one-half of the number is a quorum. For example, if there are six elected councillors (including the mayor) the quorum would be any three of those six. There are exceptions to this rule when councillors advise of conflicts of interest.

If a quorum is not present within 15 minutes after the time scheduled for a meeting, the chairperson may adjourn it to a later hour or another day within 14 days of the original meeting date.

Scenario – attending meetings

Deputy Mayor Roberts is at the mayor’s office to speak with her about the council workshops. The workshops are held on the first Monday of every month.

Deputy Mayor Roberts has been appointed to the board of the Sunrise Golf Club, and unfortunately the board meetings will clash with the workshops. Therefore, she requests leave from the workshops for the rest of the year.

Mayor Shaw clearly thinks that the deputy mayor’s attendance at the workshops are more important in her role as a deputy mayor. She doesn’t think she can grant leave on a long-term basis to attend the board meetings and asks if the Board can’t meet on a different day.

However, Deputy Mayor Roberts knows that the club cannot change their board meeting day due to the availability of one of the office holders. She was elected to the board on the basis of her being the deputy mayor and she thinks she can do more for the community working with the golf club than attending a council workshop where most of the items do not concern her.

Besides, she feels she can read the workshop papers later, and can receive briefings from the council officers if she has any questions. She also asks if the workshop can’t be moved to another day.

Mayor Shaw makes a point that the deputy mayor knows that the workshops have long been held on the first Monday so that all councillors can be briefed by council officers on agenda items for the monthly council meeting on the following Monday. She thinks it is important that Deputy Mayor Roberts receives the workshop briefings.

Deputy Mayor Roberts should resign from the golf club board if her responsibilities as a councillor cannot be accommodated by the golf club, as this decision is the one most consistent with the local government principles.

Meeting procedures

Each council can decide how its meetings will be conducted, as long as they are consistent with legislation and the Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs’ model meeting procedures.

It is up to each council to decide how formal or informal meetings should be. Some councils have very formal meetings that follow approved standing orders, whereas others are less formal.

However, there are some basics that councils must follow so that decisions are correctly made and recorded.

Model meeting procedures

The department has model meeting procedures (PDF, 262KB) on its website as an example. These procedures do not deal with all aspects of meeting conduct, only those compulsory topics required to strengthen public confidence in the conduct of councillors in meetings and the conduct of the meetings themselves, for example procedures for managing conflicts of interest.

If your council does not have its own meeting procedures (which must be consistent with the model meeting procedures), it is taken to have adopted the model procedures.

Standing orders

Standing orders are written rules designed to keep meetings orderly and efficient. Councils can consider the best practice standing orders (DOC, 512KB) that councils can choose to adopt or expand upon. You should be familiar with your council’s standing orders.

Check your council’s website to find out if your council has standing orders and take a quick look. Once you have attended a few meetings you will get to know the standing orders and meeting procedures well.

Motions

A motion is a proposal or question that you can put to council, about which all councillors or committee members make a decision. There are two types of motions, formal motions and procedural motions.

Formal motions require or acknowledge action that has to be carried out. They can also state a view or preferred policy position about an issue. Every meeting will also have some standard formal motions, for example the minutes of the previous meeting should be confirmed and adopted. The chairperson will ask all councillors to vote on the formal motion. This makes a resolution, the formal decision of the council or committee about a motion.

 

Procedural motions are used to control the conduct of meetings, for example the debate be adjourned, the council finalises the debate and votes on the matter or a motion of dissent in relation to a chairperson’s ruling.

Councils can conduct meetings formally (following rules of debate strictly and making formal motions and resolutions) or less formally (with round table discussions to reach consensus on the motions and resolutions). Either way, all councillors should have a working knowledge of their council’s meeting procedures and standing orders. Councillors need to be mindful that the community expects high levels of transparency around council decisions and councillor conduct.

Proposing motions

In formal-style meetings, a councillor is required to propose a motion and then another councillor is required to second the motion. Other councillors can propose amendments to the motion, which must be voted on before voting on the final motion.

At less formal style meetings, motions are often developed through discussion and a consensus reached on the wording.

Debating motions

To reach good decisions, councillors must make sure there is effective debate about the important issues where all councillors have a say. Although the chairperson may feel strongly about an issue, while chairing a meeting they must be neutral and avoid letting their personal views, either positive or negative, influence their role and objectivity as chairperson.

The chairperson can help make sure discussion about motions is effective using the following methods:

  • encouraging and allowing all councillors to contribute
  • stopping individual councillors from speaking for too long or dominating the discussion
  • where appropriate, proposing motions or amendments to motions that express the views of the meeting
  • inviting councillors to draft their ideas in appropriate form as a draft resolution
  • ensuring that all resolutions and amendments are clear and not able to be easily misinterpreted
  • asking councillors or council officers in the meeting open-ended questions to get more information
  • making sure everyone sticks to the topic at hand and not allowing councillors to personally criticise other councillors
  • making sure that councillors speaking to the meeting can be heard and that there are no background discussions happening at the same time while they are speaking.

Formal and less formal styles

In formal style meetings, the councillor who proposed the motion is given the option of speaking first on the motion. The chairperson then calls on any councillor who wishes to speak against the motion. Councillors alternate speaking for or against the motion until all councillors who want to speak have spoken.

At less formal style meetings, motions are discussed around the table by all councillors. The chairperson must ensure that all councillors are given the chance to speak. The chairperson lets discussions go until no new issues are raised or time has run out.

Privilege

Unlike federal and state members of parliament, as a councillor you cannot claim privilege or legal immunity from defamation for things you say in council or committee meetings.

Voting procedures

Voting at meetings is when council makes its decision. The chairperson or another councillor makes a motion, it is seconded and then after debate all councillors vote. The following principles must be applied to the voting process in council meetings:

  • voting must be open (no secret ballots allowed)
  • a decision is made by the majority of the votes of the councillors who are present
  • each councillor present, including the chairperson, has one vote on each matter to be decided
  • if the votes are equal, the chairperson also has a second casting vote
  • if a councillor who is present chooses not to vote (abstains), that vote is counted as a vote against the motion.

Once a collective decision is made, all councillors must abide by the decision. Councillors are free to publicly disagree with the decision afterwards, but they should be respectful and always acknowledge that the decision was agreed by the majority of councillors.

Scenario – Majority rules

The council has just discussed the proposal to relocate the historic, original town hall building, and will now decide on this matter. The motion is to move the building to the museum and park on the western side of town.

Those in favour are asked to raise their hands. Four councillors are in favour, including the mayor. Now those against are asked to raise their hands, and two councillors are not in favour. Cr Patel has abstained from voting so that makes the vote four to three. The motion is carried in favour.

But why is Cr Patel upset? He objects to that count as he did not vote and does not want to be associated with this decision. He is informed by Mayor Shaw that when a councillor abstains from voting their vote is counted as a negative vote.

Cr Patel makes clear that he does not agree that the council should be making any decisions about this building and he will not have his name used by the council in this matter. Cr Patel requests a division so that how each councillor voted will be recorded in the minutes. He then declares that he will be publicly telling the community that he does not support the council’s decision on this matter.

A councillor is entitled to have their own opinion and publicly criticise a council decision in a respectful way but they also must acknowledge the majority council decision.

Chairperson’s casting vote

Along with all other councillors, the chairperson (normally the mayor except at Brisbane City Council) has an initial vote on each question. If the vote is equal (tied) the chairperson gets a second additional vote, known as a casting vote. The chairperson first votes along with all other councillors, and only has a second vote if the vote is tied.

For example, if there are three councillors plus the chairperson, and two councillors vote for the resolution and one councillor and the chairperson vote against, the vote would be tied (two for and two against). The chairperson would then use their extra casting vote to decide the outcome.

Failed motions

If a vote of council does not pass, this does not mean the opposite decision was made. For example, if council votes on the approval of a development application, but it does not receive a majority of votes from councillors, this does not mean that council has decided to refuse the application.

In that case, to reach a decision, councillors must make a new motion resolving to refuse the application. If this does not occur, the decision may be reconsidered by council at a later date, or in the case of some development decisions it may after a period of time be ‘deemed to have been approved’.

Closing meetings

Full council and committee meetings must be open to the public. Councillors can make a resolution to close a meeting only to discuss the following types of confidential matters:

  • the appointment, discipline or dismissal of the chief executive officer
  • industrial matters affecting employees
  • the budget
  • rating concessions
  • legal advice or legal proceedings
  • matters that directly affect the health and safety of an individual or group
  • negotiations about commercial matters or acquiring land
  • matter council is required to keep confidential by the state or commonwealth.

If matters on the agenda are proposed to be discussed in a closed meeting and this is known in advance, the agenda must clearly identify that it will be closed to the public. When the meeting is still open, the councillors must take a vote to agree to close the meeting. The closed meeting can then only discuss the item, it cannot make a decision about the matter.

The minutes must include the resolution made by councillors to close the meeting and a statement about what matters were discussed while the meeting was closed. The statement should specify under what specific section of section 275 of the Local Government Regulation 2012 or section 255 of the City of Brisbane Regulation 2012 the meeting was closed, and specific information about what matters were discussed.

Councillors must not make a decision in a closed meeting (except for procedural resolutions). Councillors must resume the open meeting and then pass a resolution if any decisions are needed after the closed discussion.

Councillors cannot close a meeting just because they wish to avoid political embarrassment or hide things from the community.

Chairing meetings

The mayor is the chairperson at meetings of the full council (except at Brisbane City Council). If the mayor is not at the meeting, the deputy mayor acts for the mayor and chairs the meeting. If both the mayor and the deputy mayor are not in attendance, then it is up to the remaining councillors to decide who should chair the meeting. Committees can be chaired by anyone appointed by the full council or committee members.

Chairing meetings can be a formal process that strictly follows standing orders or meeting procedures. How formal the meetings are chaired is up to the chairperson in line with the council’s meeting procedures and standing orders.

A chairperson may interpret the rules in a less formal way, but to be effective they must make sure that all councillors follow the behavioural standards in the code of conduct. This means showing respect for the process and for each other to make sure decisions are fair and in the public interest.

Order of business

It is recommended that councils stick very closely to the meeting agenda and the order of business proposed on the agenda.

The chairperson may decide to change the order of business to make sure that important and urgent matters are discussed.

Some standing orders may allow for a ‘mayoral minute’ or ‘chairperson’s report’ if the mayor or chairperson needs to raise an urgent matter. These take priority over other items on the agenda.

Roles and responsibilities of a good chairperson

The chairperson needs to make sure that all councillors follow the code of conduct’s standards of behaviour and that every councillor is included in all discussions and decisions. All councillors must have an opportunity to speak and no councillor or group of councillors should be allowed to dominate.

Each councillor brings to the meeting their own individual personalities, strengths, skills and values. Through skillful use of meeting procedures, an experienced chairperson can create a strong and co-operative decision-making forum.

The chairperson should be:

  • fair and not biased
  • firm but friendly
  • confident but considerate
  • tactful and courteous
  • knowledgeable about procedure and policy.

Responsibilities of the chairperson

The responsibilities of the chairperson include:

  • ensuring the meeting is properly run and has a quorum
  • ensuring the agenda is well prepared and provided to all councillors two days before the meeting
  • ensuring councillors have a way of discussing views and ideas on key issues before the meeting
  • ensuring the meeting discussions are orderly and respectful
  • encouraging councillors to speak and clearly explain their views so that everyone’s different

views can be explored

  • sticking to the agenda, and keep discussions on topic and within reasonable time limits
  • making sure proposed resolutions and amendments follow correct procedures
  • dealing with any unsuitable meeting conduct of councillors
  • maintaining the overall public interest, for example by only closing a meeting when legally allowed under legislation.

How the chairperson can make sure decisions are respected and properly handled

The chairperson can make sure decisions are respected and properly handled by:

  • deciding on ‘points of order’ and other matters that arise, for example if a councillor

questions whether procedures are being followed

  • putting relevant questions to the meeting and conduct a vote
  • clearly declaring the result of all votes
  • making sure a division is held if requested by a councillor and that all councillors’ votes are

taken so that they can be recorded in the minutes

  • making sure the meetings are being correctly recorded for the minutes
  • adjourning the meeting if needed
  • declaring the meeting closed when all business is complete.

The chairperson is carrying out a legal responsibility under legislation to manage and lead the meeting. If a chairperson behaves inappropriately it is a serious breach of the trust placed in them and may be misconduct.

Maintaining order

The chairperson must make sure all councillors can exercise their right to participate in the meeting. The chairperson should stop any disruptive behaviour or unsuitable meeting conduct from councillors straight away. If a councillor starts to be disruptive, the chairperson can keep the meeting on track by using a calm tone of voice and directing the meeting back to the purpose of the discussion.

The chairperson can suggest taking a break if it could help stop a meeting from becoming disruptive. Most standing orders allow the chairperson to adjourn the meeting for up to 15 minutes if there is disorder from councillors. The chairperson can do this by formally stating that the meeting is adjourned and physically getting out of their chair. When the meeting restarts, councillors must then decide whether to proceed with business or postpone the discussion to a later meeting.

If an individual councillor is being disruptive, the chairperson can make an order that the councillor is demonstrating unsuitable meeting conduct and is reprimanded, that they must leave the meeting or be removed if they do not leave.

The meeting procedures and standing orders provide the rules and directions which guide meeting procedure and debates to which the chairperson is responsible for applying at meetings. Councillors must respect the chairperson’s directions when they are undertaking the presiding member role.

Meeting minutes

Minutes are the official record of discussions and the decisions made at local government meetings. As a legal record and a public document, they are arguably some of the most important records of a local government.

The chairperson is responsible for supervising the CEO’s recording of the minutes of the meeting. However, all councillors are responsible for ensuring minutes are accurate and vote on whether to confirm minutes from the previous meeting at each new council and committee meeting.

Therefore, councillors need to be aware of the requirements for minutes and make sure that they are transparent and clear.

The minutes of each meeting need to:

  • be an accurate record of the decisions made at the meeting
  • be concise and clear
  • follow a regular, easy-to-read format.

The minutes do not need to be an exact verbatim transcript of proceedings. There is no legal requirement to have a full transcript or even a summary of councillors’ statements unless the council resolves that this is needed.

The most important requirement is that all decisions (resolutions) made by councillors are clear.

Other minutes requirements

Minutes must include the following:

  • any document or report related to an item that was used at the meeting, unless it was previously made public with the agenda
  • the names of councillors or committee members present at the meeting
  • for any vote where a division is called, the names of all councillors voting and how they voted
  • details of any material personal interests or conflicts of interest raised and how they were managed
  • reasons for decisions about contracts that are inconsistent with a recommendation or advice given by a council employee where the contract is for more than $200,000 (excluding GST) or one per cent of the council’s net rate and utility charges (whichever is greater)
  • reasons for decisions where the decision is different to the policy or approach normally followed by the council, or a change from a policy previously adopted by the council.

Draft minutes of all meetings must be accessible to the community at the council office and online within ten business days after each meeting, and then immediately available after being adopted.

Reasons for decisions

Following a decision of council, the CEO and their staff will go forth and implement the decision. As such it is critical that the wording of a council decision is sufficiently clear so that the CEO and other employees understand what to do but also, so the community knows what to expect.

Therefore, after discussing an issue the council should vote on draft motions that will be accurately recorded in the formal minutes of the meeting. Resolutions should contain sufficient detail so that a person reading the minutes knows exactly what council decided. Examples include:

  • Too vague:
  • council resolves to take the action discussed in the council meeting.
  • Clear:
    • council resolves to commence legal action against Example Company Pty Ltd for breach of contract for the construction of the new library
    • council resolves to adopt the organisational structure as set out in the document titled Council Organisation Structure 2020 attached to the chief executive officer’s report.

 

In addition, the community also needs to understand the reasons for council’s decisions. Where council accepts the recommendations of a report from its employees the report can form part of the minutes. This allows the community to understand the reasons used by council in making its decision.

Also, where council decides to not accept the recommendations in a report, council should ensure it explains the reasons for the decision in the minutes.

As well as recording decisions in the minutes, council will often have to notify stakeholders directly in other ways including correspondence, on its website, in the media or in person.

Adopting minutes

The minutes of a meeting must be confirmed at a subsequent meeting and signed by the chairperson. The minutes are adopted by a motion, not a procedural resolution. This means they must have a mover, seconder and be voted in the meeting to be adopted.

You should read the minutes carefully before the meeting. The test is to ask yourself whether they are a clear, accurate, concise and complete record of the business and the decisions of the meeting.

You can move amendments to the minutes to make sure they accurately reflect what occurred at the meeting, but you are not allowed to engage in any other further discussion about the matters that were discussed. You can vote to confirm the minutes even if you were not present at the previous meeting or if you had a material personal interest or conflict of interest in a matter at that meeting.

Once the minutes have been adopted, they cannot be changed. If an error is found in the minutes at a later date, the correction can be noted in a new resolution passed by the council. The minutes are not actually changed to incorporate the resolution.

You can find examples of past meeting minutes on your council’s website.

Meeting conduct

As elected representatives, all councillors have an equal voice in decisions. Councillors are required to participate in local government meetings, policy development and decision-making for the benefit of the local government area and to be accountable to the community for the local government’s performance.

In a meeting, as always, you must keep in mind the local government principles and always follow the standards of behaviour set out in the code of conduct.

Unsuitable meeting conduct

If a councillor engages in conduct that is against a behavioural standard of the code of conduct during a meeting, that is known as unsuitable meeting conduct. The chairperson should deal with this immediately, by following the meeting procedures. Sometimes this may mean the chairperson has to make a negative ruling on the councillor or order some form of discipline against the councillor as a response. The chairperson has the power to do this and should exercise it if councillors are displaying unsuitable meeting conduct by not following the standards in the code of conduct.

One example of an order that a chairperson might make in this situation is ordering a councillor to leave a meeting.

Scenario – unsuitable meeting conduct

The council is having a meeting and is about to discuss the Waterfront Redevelopment Project.

Cr Parkwood would like to put a question to the council before the start of the discussion of the preparations for the project. He wants to know if the council can guarantee the citizens of this region that there will be no damage to the foreshore vegetation and the fauna habitat it provides because of this project.

Mayor Shaw expresses her concerns that Cr Parkwood is raising this again after two environmental impact studies have been undertaken and their reports have been provided to council with their recommendations being fully adopted by the council. She requests an explanation of his issue.

Cr Parkwood accuses everyone in this council of having a history of lying about environmental issues and ignoring the consequences of their behaviour.

This is considered a disrespectful remark and unsuitable meeting conduct by Mayor Shaw, and she requests him to cease that conduct, refrain from further insulting comments and to apologise for his remarks.

Cr Parkwood however gets only more upset. He pleads that Cr Chew and Cr Pavlois and their families have been destroying the environment since they arrived in the region with their big developments.

Addressing this behaviour, Mayor Shaw warns the councillor that if he does not refrain from this conduct and apologise, she may issue an order about his conduct. Cr Parkwood states that he will not apologise at all.

This continuation of unsuitable meeting conduct and the failure to apologise when requested urges Mayor Shaw to order that Cr Parkwood must leave this meeting and stay out of chambers for the duration of the meeting.

Cr Parkwood follows this order.

Lesson

A councillor may voice their opinion but they must respect the other councillors and when a councillor does not heed the mayor’s requests and warning and continues to engage in unsuitable meeting conduct the councillor can be ordered to leave the meeting for the remainder of the meeting.

Suspected inappropriate conduct

There are a number of forms of ‘inappropriate conduct’ under the code of conduct. As one example that can occur in meetings, if the chairperson orders a councillor to leave a meeting and they refuse, this is could be classed as inappropriate conduct, subject to the councillors voting that it is at the next meeting of council as per the meeting procedures and investigation policy. Another example is if a councillor repeats unsuitable meeting conduct and is given orders by a chairperson three times in one year for unsuitable meeting conduct.

You can find out more information about conduct matters on the code of conduct page or councillor complaints framework page.

Conflicts of interests

When considering or making council decisions, you must take actions to deal with conflicts of interest. It is a councillor‘s responsibility to advise of any conflicts on matters to be discussed at council or committee meetings.

When you receive the meeting agenda and reports, you should read all items and consider if you have any conflicts of interest in those matters.

When you are aware of a conflict of interest you must immediately inform the meeting and stop participating in any decision and follow the required procedure depending if it is a conflict of interest.

The laws for conflicts of interest are in place to make sure that all council decisions are transparent and the community can have confidence that councils are always making decisions that are in everyone’s best interests.

Many councils have a space within the agenda when councillors are asked if they have any conflicts of interest (COIs). In that case, you must then notify the meeting of any COIs you have in the matters or reports that are going to be discussed. You have to give the chairperson of the meeting full details of the COI and this is then recorded in the minutes.

After you inform the meeting of your COI, you then must inform the meeting what action you are going to take to deal with it.

With the introduction of new legislation on 12 October 2020, if you have a prescribed conflict of interest, you must exclude yourself from the matter by leaving the meeting room (including any public viewing area) while the matter is being discussed and return only when the matter is finished is compulsory and must be strictly followed.

If you have a declarable conflict of interest you will have two options:

  • exclude yourself from the meeting
  • stay in the meeting if you believe you can be impartial.

If you have a declarable conflict of interest and believe you cannot be impartial, you should completely exclude yourself from the decision-making process. If you believe you can stay and participate in the meeting and be impartial, the final decision about whether you can stay is not up to you, it must be decided by a vote of the other councillors.

The other councillors may decide that you must leave the meeting, or they may decide that you can stay and participate in the decision. Do not join in any discussion while other councillors are making their decision. You can be charged with an offence if you are seen as trying to influence other councillors in this situation.

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More information

For more information, contact your nearest regional office within the Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs.