Move to open up closed Noosa Council briefings
Public scrutiny on Noosa Council’s closed councillor briefings should be ramped up even further after councillors voted unanimously to investigate sharing the goings on of their staff briefing sessions and in-house workshops.
Noosa already conducts its committee and ordinary meetings in the public gaze, except when it discusses sensitive matters such as legal issues and negotiations to buy land for environmental purposes.
The council also livestreams its public sessions as well.
Councillor Amelia Lorentson’s has successfully requested council CEO Brett de Chastel provide a report to council outlining options to continue to improve council transparency with a particular focus on councillor briefings and workshops.
“It was encouraging to have unanimous support for this report,” Cr Lorentson said.
She said this was an issue of significance to the community.
“We make decisions on behalf of our community, it’s therefore only right information arising at or from workshops or briefing sessions be made available to the public, unless there are compelling reasons why they are not in the public interest,” Cr Lorentson said.
“It’s also our commitment in line with good governance to be more transparent and open,” she said.
Cr Brian Stockwell said this approach was the right way to go while Deputy Mayor Frank Wilkie said he wholeheartedly supported the move.
Under state legislation full council and committee meetings must be open to the public.
Councillors can make a resolution to close a meeting only to discuss the following types of confidential matters:
- the appointment, discipline or dismissal of the chief executive officer
- industrial matters affecting employees
- the budget
- rating concessions
- legal advice or legal proceedings
- matters that directly affect the health and safety of an individual or group
- negotiations about commercial matters or acquiring land
- matter council is required to keep confidential by the state or commonwealth.