Speak at an Open Forum guidelines

Any member of the public can request to address Council on any matter (subject to the exceptions below) at a session called an Open Forum which will be held at 9.30am on the day of an Ordinary Meeting of Council.

How does the Open Forum session operate?

Council will hold an Open Forum session on the day of each Ordinary Meeting of Council commencing at 9.30am.

The session will be chaired by the Mayor or his or her delegate.

Councillors may ask questions of the speaker following their address.

How can the public address the session?

Members of the public an apply to address Council on any item that is not on the agenda of the Ordinary Meeting. A person may apply to speak on no more than 1 item.

Speakers must be approved by the Mayor in consultation with the General Manager.

All requests for consideration must be received by no later than 12 noon Wednesday on the week prior to the Forum using the Speak at an Open Forum request form. Dates of the Council Meetings can be found on the Council Meeting and Dates page.

What am I not permitted to raise at an Open Forum session?

  • Any matter that could be considered to be unlawful

  • Any matter relating to a Development Application that is currently lodged with Council 

  • Any matter that is currently the subject of legal action

  • Any matter that may be the subject of a claim against Council or may be subject of review/assessment by Council’s insurers either pre, current or post assessment).

  • Any matter that relates to the performance of an individual staff member.

Tips for making a presentation to Council

The following guidelines will help in preparing a presentation:

  • Complete the Speak at an Open Forum request form and confirm you have read these Guidelines for Speaking at an Open Forum session and will abide by the Guidelines. Approved speakers will need to advise the Executive Assistant on arrival of their presence and then proceed to the gallery in the Council chambers.

  • Consider whether you have a matter that needs to be declared as a conflict of interest. Forms are available from Council.

  • Keep your address brief and to the point. Speakers are allowed a maximum of five (5) minutes. If you are not used to public speaking, you may want to practice beforehand to see how you go for time.

  • Follow the directions of the Mayor. The Mayor (Chairperson) has the ultimate say on who can address and will let you know when it is your turn to speak.

  • Show courtesy to other speakers. Do not disrupt or interject when other people are making their addresses.

Provision of PowerPoint presentations and written material

PowerPoint presentations and written material are permitted at the Open Forum sessions.

Should you wish to utilise these materials in your presentation/address you must provide the material to the Executive Assistant five (5) business days prior to the meeting at the time you register to speak. You will also need to supply at least 15 copies of the material so it can be distributed to Councillors and staff.

This is to ensure that PowerPoint presentations, spreadsheets, etc. are compatible with Councils system to ensure they function correctly on the day.

Protocols

There are certain protocols that apply to an Open Forum session. The correct procedures are:

  • You may only speak when the Mayor (Chairperson) invites you to do so.

  • When invited to speak, please come forward and using the microphone provided state your name and the matter you wish to speak to. You may stand or sit, whichever is more comfortable for you.

  • Speakers are not permitted to ask questions of Council, Councillors or staff.

  • Councillors may ask questions of you.

  • Whilst the session is not recorded or minuted it is a public meeting and as such speakers should avoid divulging personal or private information.

  • Council will not make decisions regarding your address at the Open Forum session. Matters raised that require a decision of Council may be considered at a future Ordinary Council Meeting.

Speaking in public

It is important to remember that if you say anything offensive or defamatory at the meeting about another person you may leave yourself open to legal action.

Making a request to address Council

 Approval to speak will be granted or denied based on a range of factors including but not limited to:

  • The nature of the item (see exclusions above)

  • Legislative provisions that may inhibit your request being fulfilled

  • The number of requests to speak