Receipt of Council’s petitions policy revised to allow consideration for widely-supported petitions

PORT Stephens Council’s procedure relating to petitions may be modified.

On 12 July Councillors unanimously voted to update its ‘receipt of petitions’ policy to meet the growing demand for petitions to be regarded as an agenda item.

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In an amendment moved by Councillor Giacomo Arnott, a number of additional terms will be included in the receipt of petitions to Council.

Currently, petitions are filed under information papers for a Council meeting once received.

The new policy will have petitions added to the agenda as their own item, to allow specific discussion and amendments to a motion to allow action to be taken to support the community when people get together and submit a petition.

The policy will also be updated to further inform councillors about popular petitions.

If there are more than 500 signatories on a petition, it is proposed it should merit its own place on Council’s agenda.

“Petitions which have over 500 signatures are clearly petitions which have captured the minds of quite a significant number of people in the community,” Council was told.

“Currently, if a councillor wanted to take action on a petition that has come to Council, it would need to be raised in a motion to remove it from the information papers or move an amendment in the information papers to have it as a motion in the agenda,” Cr Arnott said.

Although Councillor Arnott said these were both great options, he believed the new amendments would allow Council staff to give a little extra consideration to petitions that have community support.

Councillor Steve Tucker agreed with the amendments, noting that if the policy was abused in relation to large petitions, Council would be able to modify the rules to ensure only genuine petitions are added to Council’s agenda.

The policy will now be placed on public exhibition for 28 days, and should no submissions be received, the policy will be adopted without a further report to Council.


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