Cowra Council welcomes back in-person speakers at meetings

Residents are now able to have their say on topics listed on the agenda for that meeting either in person or by video link.
Residents are now able to have their say on topics listed on the agenda for that meeting either in person or by video link.

With the easing of pandemic restrictions, Cowra Council has confirmed new arrangements have been made for community members to speak at council and general committee meetings.

The change comes following a period where community members to speak through a video-conferencing platform and had a limit of two to five minutes for their statements.

Residents are now able to have their say on topics listed on the agenda for that meeting either in person or by video link, with speakers required to keep their statement to a limit of five minutes.

Cowra Mayor, Councillor Bill West, said the community needed to be mindful that restrictions are still in place.

"It's great to have that facility open, but we'll still be monitoring COVID-19 and being conscious of all the requirements of staying COVID safe," he said.

"[Video-conferencing] worked out well and the community is still able to view meetings live with the web stream.

"But if anyone wants to come along and view them in person and make a representation to council they are welcome to."

Cr West said it was exciting to have the public return to council meetings.

"Across the landscape I think everyone felt a bit isolated not being able to meet face to face because so much more can be done when you are talking to someone or seeing their reaction in person," he said.

"The chamber always felt kind of empty when we Zoomed completely and then had the mixture of in person and Zoom.

"We still have the capacity to do a mixture if we want to, but face to face I personally think is much more satisfactory."

He encouraged all members of the community to observe a council meeting, especially if they were considering running later in the year.

"The meetings are predominantly open to the public except for confidential matters so people are open to come and have a look," he said.

"And particularly I'd encourage anyone considering standing for council to come along and see how it operates and get an understanding and feel for it."

If you wish to speak during the public forum section of council meetings (either in-person or using video conferencing), please contact the General Manager's office on 6340 2013 by no later than midday on the day of the meeting.