Council meetings are where decision-making takes place. Decisions are the result of a democratic process and debate. The final decision is made by open voting by the majority of councillors at the meeting. Once the decision has been made, all councillors must abide by the decision.
These meetings are known as Ordinary Meetings, involve all councillors, and must be held at least once every month.
The agenda for each Ordinary Meeting is published on Council’s website prior to the meeting.
Ordinary Meetings are public meetings and members of the community are welcome to attend at the City Hall Chamber in Maroochydore. In addition, Council’s statutory meetings are livestreamed and are also available for later viewing on Council’s website and YouTube channel.
While very welcome to attend, community members are not able to speak or participate in the meeting unless invited to do so.
In general, Council will hold statutory meetings in open session, that is, open to the public.
However, in some specific circumstances, meetings (or parts of meetings) may be closed to the public. At the meeting, Council must resolve (in public) to conduct part of the meeting in closed session and provide the reasons for this.
Meetings can only be closed to the public in relation to the following matters:
- appointment, discipline or dismissal of the Chief Executive Officer
- industrial matters affecting employees
- the local government’s budget
- rating concessions
- legal advice or legal proceedings involving the Council
- matters that may directly affect the health and safety of an individual or group of individuals
- negotiations relating to a commercial matter for which a public discussion would be likely to prejudice the interests of the local government
- negotiations relating to the taking of land by the local government under the Acquisition of Land Act 1967
- matters the local government is required to keep confidential under a law of, or formal arrangement with, the Commonwealth or State
- an investigation report given to the local government in relation to a suspected Councillor conduct breach.
Importantly, Council must not make any decisions in closed session. While the details of the matter may not be open, the topic and the decision will be made in open session.
To avoid holding meetings in closed session, there are some specific circumstances (related to the above reasons for holding debate in closed session), in which material related to the agenda item needs to be confidential. That is, the report and debate will be public but there may be a confidential attachment.
In all circumstances, Council will resolve a timeframe or situation in which the confidential information will be made available to the public.
Council's searchable Register of Public Release of Confidential Information – Statutory Meetings provides details of all confidential information from council meetings and includes the expected release time as well as links to information that has been released.
More information can be found at Community guide to Local Government in Queensland.