Public Forum gives the public an opportunity to address Councillors on agenda items specific to the meeting they are attending.
Location: Murwillumbah and Tweed Heads Administration Offices
Future public forum dates
Planning Committee Meetings
A Public Forum Session will be convened prior to Planning Committee meetings on the first Thursday of the month, to enable the community to discuss items on the Planning Committee agenda.
A Public Forum Session will be convened prior to Council meetings on the third Thursday of the month, to enable the community to discuss items on the Council Agenda, with the exception of planning matters that have been deferred for consideration at the Council meeting.
Public forum procedure
- Council may hold a public forum before each ordinary meeting for the purpose of hearing oral submissions from members of the public on items of business to be considered at the meeting. Public forums may also be held before extraordinary council meetings and meetings of committees of the council.
- Public forums are to be chaired by the mayor or their nominee.
- To speak at a public forum, you must contact Council by phone before 12.00 noon on the Wednesday preceding the meeting you are attending. You must identify the agenda item to be spoken to, and whether you will speak ‘for’ or ‘against’ the item.
- If a person applies to speak on a matter that is not an item of business, or applies to speak on more than one the agenda item, it is at the discretion of the General Manager who will consider the request based on the number of applications received to speak at the meeting.
- Legal representatives acting on behalf of others are not to be permitted to speak at a public forum unless they identify their status as a legal representative when applying to speak.
- The general manager or their delegate may refuse an application to speak at a public forum. The general manager or their delegate must give reasons in writing for a decision to refuse an application.
- More than one speaker is permitted to speak ‘for’ or ‘against’ each item of business on the agenda for the council meeting.
- If more than the one speaker applies to speak ‘for’ or ‘against’ an item of business, the general manager or their delegate may, in consultation with the mayor or the mayor’s nominated chairperson, increase the number of speakers permitted to speak on an item of business, where they are satisfied that it is necessary to do so to allow the council to hear a full range of views on the item of business. Where possible, a balance of speakers ‘for’ or ‘against’ any item will be maintained.
- If more than the one speaker applies to speak ‘for’ or ‘against’ an item of business, the general manager or their delegate may, in consultation with the mayor or the mayor’s nominated chairperson, increase the number of speakers; but only if it is necessary for council to hear a full range of views. Where possible, a balance of speakers ‘for’ or ‘against’ any item will be maintained. If the public forum is not fully subscribed, and there is time remaining, additional speakers may be permitted by a majority vote of council.
- Speakers need to register any visual or audio material to be presented in support of their address, and to identify any equipment needed prior to 12.00pm on the Wednesday preceding the public forum. The general manager or their delegate may refuse to allow such material to be presented. If an approved speaker brings visual or audio material to present, that has not registered it in accordance with this clause, the mayor may allow the late material to be presented.
- The order of applications received to speak, becomes the order of speakers.
- Each speaker will be allowed 5 minutes to address the council. An extension of time for up to a further 5 minutes may be permitted by the Chairperson.
- Speakers must not digress from the item on the agenda they have applied to address. If a speaker digresses, the chairperson is to direct the speaker not to do so. If a speaker fails to observe a direction from the chairperson, the speaker will not be allowed to proceed.
- Following an address, a councillor (including the chairperson) may, through the chairperson, ask questions of a speaker. Questions put to a speaker must be direct, succinct and without argument. A speaker may ask more than two questions if permitted by the Chairperson.
- Speakers are under no obligation to answer a question put under clause 4.14. Answers by the speaker to questions are to be limited to two minutes.
- Speakers at public forums cannot ask questions of the council, councillors or council staff.
- After the address and any subsequent questions and answers have been finalised, the general manager or their nominee may, with the concurrence of the chairperson, address the council for up to five minutes in response to an address.
- Where an address raises matters that require further consideration by council staff, the general manager may recommend that the council defer consideration of the matter, pending the preparation of a further report on the matter.
- When addressing the council, speakers at public forums must comply with all other relevant council codes, policies and procedures. Speakers must refrain from engaging in disorderly conduct, publicly alleging breaches of the council’s code of conduct or making other potentially defamatory statements.
- If the chairperson considers that a speaker has engaged in conduct of the type referred to in clause 4.19, the chairperson may request the person to refrain from the inappropriate behaviour and to withdraw and unreservedly apologise for any inappropriate comments. Where the speaker fails to comply with the chairperson’s request, the chairperson may request the person to immediately stop speaking.
- Clause 4.20 does not limit the ability of the chairperson to deal with disorderly conduct by speakers at public forums in accordance with the provisions of Part 15 of this code.
- Where a speaker engages in conduct of the type referred to in clause 4.19, the general manager or their delegate may refuse further applications from that person to speak at public forums for a period that the general manager or their delegate considers appropriate.
- Councillors (including the mayor) must declare and manage any conflicts of interest they may have in relation to any item of business that is the subject of an address at a public forum. The council is to maintain a written record of all conflict of interest declarations made at public forums, including how the conflict of interest was managed by the councillor who made the declaration.
Note: Public forums should not be held as part of a council or committee meeting. Council or committee meetings should be reserved for decision-making by the council or committee of council. Where a public forum is held as part of a council or committee meeting, it must be conducted in accordance with the other requirements of this code relating to the conduct of council and committee meetings.
Presentation of written material
You may ask the Public Officer at the meeting to distribute any materials, including written statements, drawings or photographs. If you wish to distribute such materials to each Councillor you will need to provide 7 copies, if you wish to include senior staff and the Public Officer in the distribution you will need to provide 6 additional copies.
Any person who wishes to make an electronic presentation needs to provide the presentation on a USB drive, and deliver the USB drive to the Murwillumbah office or email the presentation to Council by 3 pm on the Wednesday preceding the Public Forum session of the relevant meeting. Late submission of electronic presentations may not be accepted.
Staff will then ensure that the presentation is compatible with Council's software and it is loaded to the Council Chamber computer desktop for easy retrieval.
Computers, data projectors and remote controls are available in the Council Chamber, however technical staff do not attend these meetings.
Speakers are also advised that personnel and meeting room resources are not always available beforehand to provide a rehearsal of presentations.
The Council Chamber and Harvard Room computers provide a range of software that can be accessed by a standard user.
The point of contact for emailing your presentation is:
Planning committee public forum
Phone: 02 6670 2529
Phone: 02 6670 2452
Council meeting public forum
Phone 02 6670 2406