The Mayor of Hawkesbury, Councillor Patrick Conolly is pleased to announce that, following an extensive review of Council’s committee structure, meetings of Council Committees will now be held as public meetings, with all members of the community invited to participate.
As part of the reform, Council resolved to dissolve eight existing committees and to establish the following four new committees:
- Community Services
- Innovation and Partnerships
- Disaster and Emergency.
“I am excited that Council will now allow the community to fully participate in Council’s committees,” Mayor Conolly said.
“Committee agendas will now be published in a similar manner to the way that Council Meetings are currently published so that we can ensure the community has advanced notice of what will be discussed.
“Until now, meetings of committees of Council have been held in private, with only a handful of appointed community members invited to participate in each committee,” Mayor Conolly said.
“This system has been replaced by new committees which will publish their agendas and allow any member of the public to address the committee on any agenda item.
“All members of the public are welcome to make submissions to the committees and they can attend and participate in the committee meetings,” he said.
“On behalf of Council, I sincerely thank each member of the dissolved committees for their many years of dedicated service.
“I will also be contacting them to inform them of the opportunity to participate in the new committee structure,” Mayor Conolly said.
The existing Heritage Advisory Committee will remain unchanged in that it will retain its current membership with full voting rights. The way its agenda is set and its reporting requirements will change to coincide with the other newly formed committees.
Hawkesbury City Council resolved at its meeting of 8 December 2020:
1. Recognises the extensive work and consultation on the review of the committee structure, and thanks the relevant officers and committee members for their input.
2. Dissolves the following Council committees as of 31 December 2020:
- Access and Inclusion Committee
- Human Services Advisory Committee
- Tourism Advisory Committee
- Waste Management Advisory Committee
- Civics and Citizenship Committee
- Floodplain Risk Management Advisory Committee
- Infrastructure Committee
- Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee
3. Establishes the following standing committees:
Innovation and Partnerships
Disaster and Emergency
4. Asks the Mayor to write to each member of the dissolved committees to thank them for their service and to inform them of the opportunity to participate in the new committee structure.
5. Requires that at least one Council Briefing Session every three months be devoted to disaster / emergency management matters. This includes briefings on floods, bushfires and other disasters both natural and human-made. This meeting will constitute the meeting of the Disaster and Emergency Committee.
6. Affirms that the role of Council committees is to provide advice and information to assist with Council decision making. Council shall therefore provide the long-term directions for each committee as well as setting short term tasks.
7. Five Councillors will be appointed to the four standing committees listed above and these five Councillors will be the only members of the committees.
8. Is to receive a report at the first Ordinary Meeting of 2021 that:
- Informs Council of the outstanding actions of all of the dissolved committees and the Heritage Committee, so that strategically important work and short-term tasks can be reviewed, reassigned to a newly established committee or reported to Council for a decision.
- Assists Council to review the work of the existing committees and set the longer-term objectives, directions and timeframes for each new committee for 2021.
9. Requires that committees shall report regularly to Council in the following ways:
- Provide succinct and clear minutes which include a summary of the committee’s progress towards the objectives set for them by Council. This summary is to include a self-evaluation of the committee’s performance linked to the Community Strategic Plan.
- Provide regular and timely advice including recommended actions.
10. Notes that the agenda for committee meetings will be set by Council. If the Council does not set any agenda matters then the committees will not meet. Council will refer matters to the committees either from Council Meetings or from Briefing Sessions. This system of committees is designed to imitate the committee system currently operating in State and Commonwealth Parliaments and many other councils. Where possible committees should restrict their meetings to Tuesdays.
11. Requires that committee agendas be published in a similar manner to the way that Council Meetings are currently published so that the community has advanced notice of what will be discussed. All members of the public are welcome to make submissions to the committee and can attend and participate in the committee meetings. Only the five Councillors will have voting rights, with the exception of the Heritage Committee (see point 13).
12. Recognises that committees have the ability to establish issues-based working groups when required. The committees will set the agenda for the working groups and the working groups will report back to the committee. Each working group is to focus on one particular issue and be dissolved when the relevant work has been completed. Working groups may be composed of community members as well as relevant experts.
13. The existing Heritage Advisory Committee will remain unchanged in that it will retain its current membership with full voting rights. The way its agenda is set and its reporting requirements will change to coincide with the other newly formed committees.
RESOLVED on the motion of Councillor Calvert, seconded by Councillor Kotlash.
For the Motion: Councillors Conolly, Calvert, Kotlash, Richards, Tree and Zamprogno.
Against the Motion: Councillors Garrow, Lyons-Buckett, Rasmussen, Reynolds, Ross and Wheeler.
The Motion was carried on the casting vote of the Mayor.