Geelong council moves to lock in virtual meetings option

The City of Greater Geelong Council wants the option of staging virtual meetings to made permanent, citing health and efficiency grounds.

A council motion calling on the City of Greater Geelong to write to Victoria’s Local Government Minister regarding the matter was passed last week.

In April, the Victorian State Government legislated to allow councillors and local government staff to take part in virtual meetings until November, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cr Jim Mason, who introduced the move through a notice of motion, said the ability to hold virtual meetings would ensure sick and unavailable councillors would still be able to take part in meetings.

“Being able to hold virtual meetings has been essential for council and committee business to continue safely during the pandemic,” he said.

“It’s incumbent upon us to show leadership when it comes to community transmission and allow for councillors and members to attend meetings virtually when unwell, while others are meeting face-to-face.”

He said a group on council will continue to advocate for the legislation to be permanently changed.

The Council will also investigate digital platforms to support a hybrid model for virtual meetings, and advocate more broadly for the online meetings by moving a motion at the next Municipal Association of Victoria state council meeting seeking a permanent change.