Melville rethinks axeing questions

MELVILLE is rethinking its decision to axe question time at agenda briefing forums.

The decision to kill off questions was made by council staff following persistent questioning from the Melville Residents and Ratepayers Association, but Cr Nicholas Pazolli wants that call to be given to councillors.

He moved a motion at this week’s council meeting to reinstate question time, but his colleagues deferred the motion after deciding they needed more time to think about it.

Cr Matthew Woodall, who moved the deferral, said the issue was about the tension between openness and accountability on the one hand, and efficiency and staff time on the other.

He said councillors needed an information session to think about it more thoroughly because other options might be available – such as limiting the number of questions or restricting questions based on relevance to the council agenda.

“We have seen there are sometimes an excessive amount of questions…we have the ability to set rules in this regard”, Cr Woodall said.

“I think it’s an important issue and one that does need to be heard…It is imperative that every opportunity be given for questions to be asked on the record,” Cr Pazolli said.

Tempers often flare at Melville question times, and this week’s meeting was no different, with CEO Shayne Silcox threatening a Bicton resident if he continued to submit targeted questions which doubled-up those submitted by the MRRA.

“If it continues I will seek legal advice in relation to harassment”, Dr Silcox said.



One response to “Melville rethinks axeing questions

  1. The department of local government’s guidance on this matter is simple:

    – Public Question Time is a means by which the public can seek responses from their council about issues affecting the local government that are of concern to them. It assists the public to be better informed about the governing of their district and it provides the local government with a mechanism to identify issues of importance in their community.

    – Some councils only permit the asking of questions which relate to an item on the agenda. It is the Department’s view that such a policy is of doubtful validity, as the restriction denies peoples’ rights under the legislation to ask questions on any local government matter.

    Any reduction in public question time will lead to reduced local government transparency and accountability.

    We all must fight to save our right to transparency!

    For more information contact us at 9330 4350, at or on our Facebook page

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