Yarra Ranges Council Public Gallery Closed until Further Notice
Published on 20 April 2023
Over recent months, there has been a consistent and increasing pattern of verbal abuse, intimidation and anti-social behaviour demonstrated by some members of the public gallery during Council meetings.
This type of conduct is unacceptable, and we cannot continue to allow these situations to occur. In recognising Council’s obligation to provide a safe workplace, and to ensure that Council meetings are a safe place for all in attendance, effective immediately, the public gallery for Council meetings will be closed until further notice.
We are disappointed to have to make this decision. However, given the recent and reoccurring abusive behaviour displayed during Council meetings this change is necessary to uphold health and safety and to maintain the integrity of Council business transacted during those meetings.
This decision is supported by the Local Government Act 2020 (Act) which allows Council to close a meeting to the public for security reasons or where it is necessary to do so to enable the meeting to proceed in an orderly manner.
Because Council meetings provide an important opportunity for the community to see and hear Council make important decisions to help achieve the best outcomes for our community, Council will continue to live stream its meetings in accordance with its obligations under the Act and Council’s Governance Rules.
Any person whose rights are directly affected by decisions made at Council meetings will continue to be invited to make a submission and attend online. People wishing to submit a Question to Council or a Petition will also be invited to participate online.
Council is committed to engaging with our community in respectful ways and will review the decision to close the public gallery in the coming months.
We invite anyone wishing to view the Council meetings to do so via Council’s public website.