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Council to delay meeting and budget

The Mount Alexander Shire Civic Centre is located on Lyttleton Street in Castlemaine

Council has cancelled its April Council meeting and delayed release of its proposed budget in response to the impact of coronavirus.

Thursday 16 April 2020

Mount Alexander Shire Council has cancelled the Ordinary Meeting of Council planned for Tuesday 21 April in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Councillors decided to cancel the meeting given the requirement under the Local Government Act for Council to meet in person. Items on the April meeting agenda will be tabled at subsequent meetings.

“The requirement for a face-to-face meeting is at odds with current instructions from government to minimise the risk of infection of COVID-19 wherever possible,” said Christine Henderson, Mayor of Mount Alexander Shire Council.

“The Minister for Local Government, the Hon Adem Somyurek is well aware of this problem and has advised that when Parliament is recalled next week legislation will be introduced to allow council meetings to be conducted virtually,” said Mayor Henderson.

“Councils will continue to be required to make meetings open to the public through options such as live streaming,” she said.

Mount Alexander Shire Council has live streamed its Council meetings since March 2019 via YouTube.

“In the meantime, we want to assure everyone that Councillors meet regularly via an online platform to receive updates from the administration and to discuss strategic matters,” she said.

Council had intended to present the Proposed Budget 2020-2021 at next week’s meeting. It will now be tabled at a later meeting.

This follows the advice issued by the Minister for Local Government last week that councils have an extension to 31 August to adopt their budget.

“We are still trying to understand the impact of COVID-19 on our community and what we can realistically achieve in the coming financial year,” said Cr Henderson.

‘We’ll use the extra time to work through and revise the draft budget, with an emphasis on community wellbeing.

“Although we may not have all the answers, we aim to provide a proposed budget for community feedback in the coming months.”

The next scheduled Ordinary Meeting of Council is Tuesday 19 May.

Anyone with a question for Council can send it to the Governance Team, Mount Alexander Shire Council, PO Box 185, Castlemaine 3450 VIC, or email to info@mountalexander.vic.gov.au. The questions will be read out and answered at the livestreamed Council meetings. Council will also provide a written response.

Image: The Civic Centre in Castlemaine.

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