Neighbourhood meetings to continue in 2023
The City of Melbourne has announced that it will continue hosting one meeting per month away from Melbourne Town Hall in 2023 after a “successful pilot year” of neighbourhood meetings, as Southbank prepares to host councillors on November 22.
The council will convene for one of two Future Melbourne Committee (FMC) meetings (which oversees the implementation of key council strategies) per month at venues across the municipality in a bid to bolster democratic involvement.
The second FMC meeting of each month will be held in 10 different community locations, including Southbank (in November), Carlton, West Melbourne, Parkville, Docklands, South Yarra, North Melbourne, East Melbourne, Fishermans Bend and Kensington.
“Community is at the heart of everything we do. Local meetings make it so much easier for our residents and businesses to get involved with Council and connect with those representing their unique neighbourhood,” Lord Mayor Sally Capp said.
“We are proud of our democratic processes at the City of Melbourne, and after a hugely successful pilot year of neighbourhood FMC meetings we’re looking forward to continuing these important conversations outside Town Hall.”
The first FMC meeting per month, plus a standard council meeting held on the last Tuesday of the month, will remain at Town Hall, the 1870-built building on Swanston St.
Neighbourhood locations have been determined based on availability of a suitable venue, with a later start time of 6pm to enable greater attendance.
Southbank will host November FMC meeting at Cliftons Melbourne, Freshwater Place on November 22 at 6pm.
More notice on key reports
The council has also indicated that, from 2023, locals could be given an extra week to consider important reports ahead of FMC and council meetings.
Ratepayers currently have less than five days to read and respond to council policy and strategy papers, and many have argued this was insufficient time.
However from next year, important documents could land in the hands of locals far earlier.
After “an increasing number of requests for longer notice periods”, City of Melbourne councillors endorsed a proposal to allow an extra week’s notice for significant reports.
Currently, the council publicly released documents for a Tuesday evening meeting at 2pm the previous Thursday.
An additional seven days would more than double the time available for locals to read and consider the contents of significant reports prior to a decision being taken.
“This has been a while coming, and we’re keen to get the balance here,” Cr Rohan Leppert, who put forward the motion, said. •