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Highlights from Maroondah City Council’s first meeting for 2021

Published on 18 February 2021
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Council’s first Ordinary Meeting of the year was highlighted by the adoption of an updated Community Engagement Policy and a revised Councillor Code of Conduct, as well as hearing a six-month update of Council’s financial performance.

Community Engagement Policy

At the meeting Council adopted an updated Community Engagement Policy, which incorporates community feedback and the new requirements of the Victorian Local Government Act 2020.

Council had an existing policy that was adopted in August 2015. The adoption of Council’s updated Community Engagement Policy continues our commitment to a set of principles by which all community engagement will take place.

Maroondah Mayor Councillor Kylie Spears said the updated policy would guide the way Council and the Maroondah community work together to inform Council decisions, projects, policies and plans.

“Over the past 18 months Council has undertaken an extensive number of community engagement activities across a broad range of projects. Outcomes from each of these consultation activities and community engagement evaluations have informed our updated Community Engagement Policy 2021,” Cr Spears said.

Front cover of Community Engagement Policy

“The policy is a formal expression of Council’s commitment to engaging with our community and understanding the different views, experiences and expertise our community has to offer. Our community and stakeholders play a vital role in shaping the City of Maroondah and we consider community engagement to be an essential component of good governance and leadership,” she said.

“Council is also required to meet a variety of legislative obligations under the Local Government Act 2020 which identifies principles for when and how we engage with our community and key stakeholders based on their level of impact or interest in a decision being made.

“This policy provides the foundation to ensure our community is the centre of all Council decisions,” Cr Spears added.

The draft Community Engagement Policy 2021 was placed on public exhibition from 8 December 2020 to 24 January 2021, with community feedback invited on a range of Council’s communication channels during this period. A total of 49 submissions were received with the majority stating that the policy was comprehensive and supporting its intent and commitments.

Revised Councillor Code of Conduct 

Also at the meeting Council adopted a revised Councillor Code of Conduct, which sets the standards of conduct, behaviour and commitments of Councillors at Maroondah.

Cr Spears said the code is intended to ensure all Councillors operate to agreed standards of conduct and behaviour.

“Councillors are leaders elected to Council to provide vision, strategic direction and to make policy decisions for the benefit of the whole community. In so doing, a Councillor must adhere to a set of principles, including observing good governance and acting with integrity,” Cr Spears said.

Local councils are required under the Local Government Act 2020 (the Act) to adopt a new Councillor Code of Conduct within four months after a general election. The code replaces Council’s previous Councillor Code of Conduct adopted by resolution of Council on 20 February 2017.

“The new code is based upon Council’s existing Councillor Code of Conduct, which has been amended to reflect new requirements under the Act, including incorporation of the prescribed Standards of Conduct,” Cr Spears said.

“By agreeing to this code our Councillors have demonstrated that they are committed to working together in the best interests of the people within our municipality, and to perform their responsibilities to the best of their skill and judgement,” she said.

“This revised Code of Conduct will also increase public confidence and understanding in Council’s decision-making processes and the expected standards of behaviour of the Mayor and Councillors when carrying out their roles, responsibilities and obligations as the elected representatives of Maroondah,” Cr Spears added.

View our Councillor Code of Conduct

Council's six-monthly report

In other news, the six-monthly report on Council’s fiscal year to date was also presented to Council on Monday night.

The report gives the public a comprehensive record of Council expenditure and includes a detailed financial report.

Council continues working hard to ensure it meets budget by year-end in line with its Long-Term Financial Strategy despite the overwhelming impost of the pandemic on Council.

The Capital Works program is also progressing to deliver its highest ever capital works budget of $100.4 million.

“Despite the impacts of COVID-19, the 31 December 2020 year-to-date results are favourable and provide a solid foundation for achieving Council’s 2020/2021 services and advocacy programs,” Cr Spears said.

Minutes from and documents relating to the Ordinary Meeting are available online

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