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Baw Baw Shire Council shifts to monthly meetings starting February 2024 to improve inclusivity and participation

Baw Baw Shire Council shifts to monthly meetings starting February 2024, aiming for inclusivity. Earlier agendas, live streaming, and remote submissions enhance community engagement.

By news@gippsland - 16th November 2023 - Back to News

Baw Baw Shire Council is moving to make council meetings more inclusive as it prepares to trial a monthly meeting schedule, effective from February 2024. This change from fortnightly to monthly council meetings means that council agendas will be published 10 days in advance of the meeting, giving the community a better chance to read these, and more time to make written submissions.

Baw Baw Shire Council aims for inclusivity, transitioning to monthly meetings from February 2024, providing ample time for community engagement H2:Considering new process

Baw Baw Shire Council aims for inclusivity, transitioning to monthly meetings from February 2024, providing ample time for community engagement

Considering new process

From February meetings will commence at 1.00 pm on the first Wednesday of the month. In addition to attending in person, members of the public will be able to watch the meeting livestream on council's website and can make verbal submissions remotely. For more information on how to make a submission, visit Baw Baw Shire Council - meeting page and see the tab titled 'Public Participation'.

Mayor of Baw Baw Shire Cr McCabe said councillors gave this decision thorough consideration and if the new process doesn't work, there is always an opportunity to revert to fortnightly meetings. "We know this will be something different for our staff and residents, but we are hoping that this shift in scheduling will give our community a better chance to read agendas and attend our meetings, as 5.30 pm is so often a difficult time of the day to get away."

"Additionally, in October 2024 we will have a general election to induct our new group of councillors, and we hope that this modern move will attract an even more diverse pool of candidates," Cr McCabe said.

Inclusive shire commitment

Cr McCabe added that Baw Baw Shire is committed to maintaining an accessible and inclusive shire, which is demonstrated through the Community Vision and Council Plan 2021-25. "Council undertook extensive deliberative engagement with the community when developing our Council Plan, with a key focus area within the Plan being to 'support community connectivity, diversity, inclusion and reconciliation."

"All of our councillors are devoted to delivering upon this area of the Plan, and we are always open to fresh ideas and new ways of doing things, particularly if they support the more vulnerable members of our community," Ms McCabe said.

Council meetings

Cr McCabe added that the new move also provides better access to the West Gippsland Arts Centre for the local community. "We are also very excited by the opportunity for our community to further utilise the spaces within the West Gippsland Arts Centre, given there won't be council meetings being held every second Wednesday evening. This move will free up the Fountain Room at the Arts Centre on a more regular basis, making it available for other community events and activities."

Baw Baw Shire Council is not the first Victorian council to make this move, with other councils across the state also running monthly council meetings. Examples of other councils include Bass Coast Shire, Latrobe City Council and South Gippsland Shire Council.

The last council meeting for 2023 will be held on 13 December, with the monthly schedule to commence trial from the first meeting of 2024, in February. Baw Baw Shire Council meetings are held at the West Gippsland Arts Centre in the Fountain Room. To access council's meeting schedule, agendas and minutes visit Baw Baw Shire Council - council meeting page.

Pictures from Baw Baw Shire Council website.


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