Address a Council meeting

Attend a Council meeting

Due to the COVID-19 Public Health Orders, members of the public are unable to attend Council meetings in person.

Council meetings will be livestreamed and people wishing to participate during the public access session will have an opportunity to connect to Council’s webinar platform.

Alternatively, Council encourages public access speeches be provided in advance in either in written or video format.

Contact us on 02 6626 7051 or email councillorsupport@byron.nsw.gov.au with any questions.

Register for Public Access

Public access is an opportunity for you to have your say at a Council meeting. Public access is held at the start of the meeting.

There are three ways you can address Council:

  • Public Access - make a statement to Council in support of or against, an item on the agenda.
  • General submission - raise a matter that is not listed on the agenda.
  • Question - ask a question of Council in relation to an item on the agenda or issue currently before Council.

Requests for public access should be made by completing the online Public Access Request form, by no later than 12 noon the day before the meeting.

Requests received after the registration deadline will only be considered at the discretion of the Chairperson. There is no guarantee these will be accepted, and you are strongly encouraged to ensure your registration is received by no later than 12 noon the day before the meeting.

How to join the meeting

During the stay-at-home orders you can participate in the following ways:

  • Connecting to Council’s webinar platform (Zoom). Link will be provided prior to the meeting.
  • Dialing in by phone.
  • Providing pre-recorded audio/video of your submission to be played on your behalf. This must be received by no later than 12pm the day before the meeting.
  • Providing a written submission to be read aloud by a member of staff on your behalf. Wording must be received by no later than 12noon the day before the meeting.

Complete the Public Access Request form to address Council during public access.

More information about Public Access, making a General Submission or Question

Each person/organisation can register for one of each of the follow Public Access types: 

Public Access

Five (5) minutes is allocated for speeches in favour of and against items on the Agenda (total ten (10) minutes per agenda item). Should there be more than one speaker addressing Council in favour of or against the recommendation of the same Agenda item, speakers will share the allocated five minutes.

General submission

A person/organisation is permitted one submission of 2 minutes duration per meeting on matters that are not on the Agenda.

Question

A person/organisation is permitted to ask one question of Council per meeting. One minute is allocated per question. The text of a question must be submitted at the time of registration, and must be in relation to an item on the Agenda or a matter currently before Council.

The Mayor, Councillors or General Manager will provide a response to questions asked of Council at the meeting if possible. If a response is unable to be provided the question will be taken on notice, with an answer to be provided to the person/organisation prior to the next Ordinary Meeting and placed on Councils website. 

What does it mean to be for/against a recommendation?

In order to participate in Public Access, you are required to be clear about whether you are for or against the item on the Agenda. 

Speaking for a recommendation means that you are in favour of the recommendation passing in its current form. It would mean that your ideal outcome is the current recommendation, with no changes.

Speaking against a recommendation means that you do not wish to see the recommendation pass in its current form. It would mean that your ideal outcome is the current recommendation either not passing or being changed in some way.

If you are only for or against part of the recommendation then you would usually be considered against the recommendation. This is because there is likely to be some aspect you wish to see changed.

A simple way to think of this is to ask yourself, “Would I be happy if the recommendation passed as it currently stands?”. If yes, you may be speaking for the item. If no, you are probably speaking against.

How many people can register for each item?

Only two speeches in total in favour of and two speeches in total against each item on the agenda are allowed. If two people are registered for the same item, they will share the allocated five minutes.

If too many registrations are received, we will be contact registrants to determine who will participate.

If agreement cannot be reached, priority will be given on a first come first served basis.

What happens once I’ve joined the meeting via Zoom?

Upon joining the meeting via Zoom, you will be placed in a Waiting Room. From here you should be able to hear the meeting (if commenced) and see any documentation being displayed (or a holding image). If you can see or hear either of these, you are successfully ‘in’ the meeting.

When it is your turn to address Council, you will be admitted as a Panellist and able to be seen and/or heard (dependent on whether you are sharing video, audio, or both).

Approved submissions

Approved Submissions(PDF, 85KB)are a list of presentations/speakers at next Public Access session.

On the day of the meeting

When addressing the Council, speakers must:

  • comply with the Code of Meeting Practice
  • comply with COVID-19 restrictions and NSW Public Health orders.
  • comply with all other relevant ouncil codes, policies and procedures
  • refrain from engaging in disorderly conduct, publicly alleging breaches of the council’s code of conduct
  • refrain from making other potentially defamatory statements.

Joining the Webinar for Public Access

Join shortly before the meeting starts. 

  • 9am for Ordinary meetings
  • 11am for Planning meetings

You will be admitted to the meeting when it is your turn to speak. It is not possible to provide a specific time for your Public Access.  There are time limits for each participant/item.  This may change if a participant uses less than their allotted time, or Councillors have questions for the participants.

When will my item be debated?

At the conclusion of Public Access, the Chairperson will ask Councillors to identify any individual items of business that they wish to reserve.

Following this, a motion will be raised to adopt the unreserved items of business. A further motion is raised for the order of business for the remaining items to be changed.

Items reserved that were raised in Public Access will be addressed first, followed by any other reserved items.

This means that one of two situations may occur:

  1. The item you addressed is not reserved. In this case it will be block resolved (passed) and no debate will occur.
  2. The item you addressed is reserved. In this case it will be debated with other reserved Public Access items near the commencement of the meeting.

Can I display images or content during my address?

Yes, this can be arranged for you. We recommended submitting any accompanying images or video to Councillor Support by no later than 12pm midday the day before the meeting.

Can I stay to watch the meeting?

Public Access participants are welcome to stay for the meeting as part of the gallery.

For participants choosing to do so, please be aware there are currently a number of COVID safe measures in place.

 

Accessibility features of Council Chamber

Council Chambers has the following accessible features:

  • 2 on-site accessible parking spaces.
  • Hearing loop facilities.
  • Accessible amenities.