Yarra Ranges Council to reopen physical Public Gallery on 11 July

Published on 30 June 2023


Community members will be able to attend Yarra Ranges public Council Meetings face to face once again when Council lifts the temporary closure of the public gallery from 11 July.

The decision to temporarily close the public gallery was announced in April 2023 in response to a consistent and increasing pattern of verbal abuse, intimidation and anti-social behaviour demonstrated by some members of the public gallery during Council meetings.

Yarra Ranges Mayor Jim Child said he was looking forward to welcoming community members into the public gallery once again.

“While it was disappointing to have to make the decision to close the gallery, it was a necessary decision to ensure we could maintain a safe workplace for our staff, councillors and community members, and ensure our meetings could be run in an orderly manner,” Cr Child said.

“Since then, Council has continued to livestream its meetings, and community members who wished to make a submission regarding an item on the agenda, or submit a Question to Council or a Petition, have still been able to do so online.”

“While welcoming our community physically back into the public gallery on 11 July, we ask that everyone who attends does so respectfully. Any inappropriate comments or behaviour will not be tolerated, and individuals will be asked to leave if necessary.”

Cr Child said public Council Meetings provided an important opportunity for the community to see and hear Council make important decisions to help achieve the best outcomes for the community

“We have many community members wanting to attend so that they can participate and share their stories about decisions being considered that impact them directly,” he said.

“They, along with councillors and staff, have the right to attend these meetings without being abused, threatened or intimidated, and we hope that the disruptions we experienced earlier this year will be a thing of the past.”

The next public Council Meeting will be held at the Yarra Ranges Council Civic Centre, Anderson Street, Lilydale from 7pm. The meeting will also be livestreamed for people wishing to watch online.

Keep an eye out for further information on Council’s website www.yarraranges.vic.gov.au next week.