Usually when we talk about Council meeting ‘in camera’ we mean in closed session behind closed doors in a shroud of secrecy.
But no more (well sometimes).
The NSW Government has passed a Bill that amends the Local Government Act to allow councils to hold official meetings electronically instead of physically.
Virtual meetings will allow councils to continue to function and make decisions on behalf of their local communities while helping to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Under previous legislation, councillors had to be physically present at meetings and residents allowed to attend in person to watch them deliberate and make important decisions on behalf of the community.
For the next six months, these attendance requirements will be satisfied if council meetings are held remotely using audio visual links such as Skype. If that method is not available, council meetings will be able to be held in any other manner approved by the Minister.
To ensure meetings are open to the public, councils will be required to webcast their meetings. All councils have been required to webcast their meetings since 14 December 2019 under existing requirements.
Use of electronic meetings can be extended to 12 months if required.