Open and accountable council invites online public participation at meetings

The Ipswich community is being given an opportunity to express its views on items before the new Ipswich City Council.

Through a new public participation online form, launched today, residents and ratepayers are invited to lodge considered submissions on items before council, by 12pm the day before councillors sit in chambers.

Mayor Teresa Harding said council has launched the pilot initiative to enable the public to submit their position on a matter for councillors’ consideration.

“We’re looking for new ways for members of the community to voice their views in this COVID-19 era,” Mayor Harding said.

“This further demonstrates council’s determination to be completely transparent and accountable and to listen to our community.

“As part of our ongoing commitment to transparency, integrity and community engagement, public participation is now being made available at each ordinary meeting through this pilot initiative.”

Mayor Harding said the online form has been designed to allow members of the community to raise issues relating to council’s strategies and policies and matters that are currently on the agenda of the council meeting, held on the last Tuesday of the month.

Deputy Mayor Marnie Doyle said members of the public could go to the Council Meetings page on council’s website and click directly to Public Participation and submit their inquiry or comments.

“While council meetings remain closed to the public due to COVID-19 restrictions, your council is committed to raising the bar on transparency. Both our General Purposes Committee and Ordinary Council Meetings will continue to be streamed live to the public,” Cr Doyle said.

Cr Doyle said councillors will be provided with all submissions for consideration in advance of the council meeting. The submissions will not be published in this phase of the pilot.

“We encourage you to reference key facts or evidence that supports your position,” she said.

Cr Andrew Fechner said COVID-19 had been a game-changer and it was important for council to enable the community to remain in touch and have their say.

“My goals are communication-focussed. We need a council that is open, honest, easy to access and most importantly to me one that encourages young people to get involved” Cr Fechner said.

“I will let you know what the hot topics are. I want to discuss to the issues with you. This is a democracy. I want to hear your thoughts and feelings before we make a decision on your behalf.”

Ipswich City Council next meets at 9am on Tuesday 26 May. Get your submissions in by 12pm on Monday 25 May.

The meeting can be watched live here

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