PUBLIC question time is back at Melville agenda briefing forums, but with restrictions.
The local government act doesn’t require question time at ABFs, so it was axed by city officers after a barrage of questions from the Melville Residents and Ratepayers Association.
Cr Nicholas Pazolli thought this was a blow to openness and accountability, and asked council to reverse the decision.
But Cr Duncan Macphail was among those in support of the axing.
He argued Melville should stick with the bare bones of the act, pointing out that ABFs are designed for elected members to ask the questions, and social media has made communication between councillors and residents better than ever before.
“We’ve got to sharpen our pencils and say look, the act is the act,” Cr Macphail said.
“If the objective is seeking information, there’s plenty of options to do that.”
Councillors Cameron Schuster and Mathew Woodall put their heads together and came up with a compromise: questions would only be allowed at ABFs if the mayor decides they’re relevant to the agenda, and only if the questioner is in attendance.
“A limited question time is better than no question time at all,” Cr Woodall said.
The amended motion was ultimately passed 9 to 2.
by TRILOKESH CHANMUGAM