Members of the public have a number of opportunities to participate in the formulation of the Shire's plans, policies and strategies as well as comment on the performance of the Shire's functions and there are a range of ways to discuss issues and concerns with Council and Committees. 

Find out what is involved with each method below.

Public Question Time

In accordance with Section 5.24 of the Local Government Act 1995, and the Local Government (Administration) Regulations 1996, a minimum of 15 minutes is set aside at the beginning of each Council or Committee meeting to allow members of the public to ask questions in regard to an item on the agenda or on matters related to the good government of persons in the district. Any member of the public can ask questions, not just electors or people who live in the district.

To find out more, including the process and what type of questions can be asked, please refer to the information below.

What is the procedure for asking questions during Public Question Time? 

  1. Prior to the meeting, you are encouraged to register your intention to ask a question on the Public Question Time Submission form (see next tab). Hard copies will also be provided in the Council Chambers or Committee Room.
  2. When Public Question Time is opened, the presiding member will request people to come forward in the order they have registered. When called you are required to:
    • state your name and address; and
    • ask your question.
  3. If you have several questions you will initially be allowed to ask a maximum of two questions and use a maximum of three minutes to ask and receive a response to your questions. This ensures an equal and fair opportunity is provided to all persons wishing to address Council or the Committee. If you have a question that is lengthy or complex and you have not provided it in writing, you will be asked to write it down and hand it to the Chief Executive Officer to ensure an accurate summary of the question can be included in the minutes of the meeting.
  4. The presiding member will then determine who is to respond to your question. The presiding member may:
    • respond personally to the question asked;
    • refer the question to another member for a response;
    • refer the question to an employee (through the CEO) for a response;
    • take the question on notice; or
    • decide not to accept the question.
  5. Once you have asked two questions the presiding member will enquire if you have any more questions. If you do, your request will be noted and placed at the end of the queue (if applicable) and you will be asked to resume your seat in the public gallery.
  6. The next person on the list will then be called.
  7. The registration list is worked through until exhausted; after that the presiding member will call upon any other persons who did not register if they have a question (e.g., people may have arrived after the meeting started).
  8. When such persons have asked their questions, the presiding member may, if time permits, provide an opportunity for those who have already asked a question to ask further questions.
  9. The presiding member declares Public Question Time closed at the expiration of the allocated time period or when there are no further questions.
  10. Council may decide by resolution that question time is to be extended for up to 2 extra periods of 15 minutes.

What kind of questions can be asked?

Who can ask questions?

Any member of the public can ask questions, not just electors or people who live in the district.

What kind of questions can be asked?

During Ordinary meetings of Council, any questions affecting the operations of the local government may be asked. No response will be provided to questions that do not relate to a matter affecting the local government.
During Special meetings of Council only questions relating to the purpose of the meeting may be asked.
During Committee meetings only questions relating to the functions of the Committee may be asked.

What kind of questions cannot be asked?

If you provide a written question or attempt to verbally ask a question which is considered to be offensive or defamatory in nature, you will be advised by the presiding member that the question will not be considered. You may be invited to rephrase your question. Similarly, the presiding member will refuse to accept inappropriate questions, such as those containing defamatory remarks, offensive language or questioning the competency of staff or elected members.

If you attempt to ask a question considered inappropriate or not in good faith, the presiding member will rule your question out of order and it will not be recorded in the minutes.

The presiding member will also refuse to accept questions that relate to the personal affairs or actions of elected members or employees.

Finally, the presiding member may refuse to accept questions relating to confidential matters, legal advice, legal proceedings or other legal processes, or questions that have been answered by earlier questions or at a previous meeting.

What happens to questions that require considerable research?

If a question is raised which requires considerable research then the presiding member may point out that a response would require a substantial commitment of the local government’s resources.
The presiding member may invite you to reconsider your request or refer the matter to the CEO for action following the meeting.

Can I make a statement instead of asking a question? 

No. If you attempt to use question time to make statements rather than ask questions, you will be asked by the presiding member to “state your question” or you may be assisted in phrasing your question.
However, if it is necessary that the question be prefaced by a statement in order to place the question in context, then the statement should be brief.
There is an opportunity for members of the public to make a public statement of maximum 3 minutes during the Deputations segment of the meeting.

What if I ask a question that does not comply with these procedures?

You will be ruled ‘out of order’ and your question will not be recorded in the minutes if you:

  • ask a question that does not comply with these procedures;
  • do not abide by a ruling or direction from the presiding member; or
  • behave in a manner that is disrespectful of the presiding member, Council or Committee


Public Question Time Information Sheet (PDF)

Public Question Time Submission Form (PDF)


Deputations provide an opportunity for an individual or group in the community to present their opinions at the meeting. See below for further information and a link to a Deputation Submission Form.

What is the procedure for making a deputation?

Members of the public may, during the deputation's segment of the order of business and with the consent of the presiding member, make a public statement on any matter that appears on the agenda for that meeting, provided that:

  • The deputation is limited to a maximum of three minutes, unless otherwise determined by the presiding member, and must relate to an item on the Meeting's Agenda.
  • The deputation is not offensive or defamatory in nature, providing that the presiding member has taken all reasonable steps to assist the member of the public to phrase the statement in a manner that is not offensive or defamatory.
  • No discussion or questions relating to the deputation are permitted, unless otherwise determined by the presiding member. 

How long is allocated for deputations?

15 minutes is to be allocated for deputations. 

Once all statements have been made, nothing prevents the unused part of the deputation time period from being used for other matters. 

If the 15 minute period set aside for deputations is reached, Council may resolve by resolution that statement time be extended for no more than two 15 minute extensions.

What is the preferred format for deputations?

Whilst the use of the Deputation Submission Form (available below) is encouraged, Deputations may be submitted in any written format.

Additional forms may be completed as required. Deputations are presented to the meeting in order of receipt.

Deputation Submission Form (PDF)


A petition is a request for action from the community. Further information, a Petition Information Sheet and a Petition Submission Form are provided below.

What are the requirements of a petition?

A petition informs Council in a public way of the views of a section of the community and serves as a means of placing community concerns before Council.

As such, the subject of a petition must be a matter on which Council has the power to act, i.e. a matter that can be dealt with by the local government. For example, a petition requesting improvements to the power supply cannot be presented to Council, as this is a State Government responsibility.

The Shire's Meeting Procedures Local Law 2015 sets out a number of requirements governing the format and presentation of a petition. It is important that those involved in drawing up petitions familiarise themselves with these requirements before taking steps to collect signatures. This will avoid the possibility of the petition being ruled out of order and not being presented to Council.

These are the requirements of the Shire's local law are that a petition is to: -

  • be addressed to the President
  • be made by electors of the district
  • state the request on each page of the petition
  • contain the legible names, addresses and signatures of the electors making the request
  • contain a summary of the reasons for the request
  • state the name of the person to whom, and an address at which, notice to the petitioners can be given
  • not contain offensive or insulting language.

Who can sign a petition?

The Shire will only accept petitions from electors of the district. What is the difference between a “resident," a “ratepayer” and an “elector”?

  • A resident lives in the Shire on a permanent basis.
  • A ratepayer owns property and is liable to pay rates to the Shire.
  • An elector is a person who owns or occupies rateable property within the Shire and is listed on the Shire electoral roll and so has the right to vote in local and State elections.

Although technically a petition only needs to have one elector's signature to be accepted, it will obviously appear more representative of public feeling if it is signed by as many people as possible.  

How is the petition presented? 

A petition can only be presented to Council at an Ordinary Meeting of Council by a council member or the Chief Executive Officer. 

Although a council member is not bound to present a petition, it is traditionally accepted that they will present it, irrespective of personal views. Presentation of a petition by a council member does not mean that the Member necessarily agrees or disagrees with its content.
In order to verify compliance with the local law requirements, a copy of the petition must be submitted to the Chief Executive Officer at least one business day prior to the day of the Council Meeting at which it is to be presented.

What happens next? 

Petitions at Council Meetings

At item 8.2 in the order of business on the council meeting agenda, the council member presenting it or the Chief Executive Officer will read out the petition.
When the petition is presented, no discussion or debate on the substance of the petition can take place, as the only permissible motion (in accordance with the Shire's Meeting Procedures Local Law 2015) is for Council to resolve that the petition be received and referred to the Chief Executive Officer for action.

What happens after a petition has been presented?

The Chief Executive Officer determines the action required in response to the petition and if applicable will refer it to the department responsible for the matter that is the subject of the petition. An assigned staff member will inform the petition initiator of the action proposed in dealing with the petition. This may involve having to prepare a detailed report for a future meeting of the Council for its consideration.

Petitions are Public Documents

All petitions tabled at Committee and Council meetings are public documents which may be inspected by members of the public at any time. This is provided for under section 5.94(p)(i) of the Local Government Act 1995.

Petition Information Sheet (PDF)

Petition Submission Form (PDF)

More information and contacts

Information for public participation during Electors' Meetings is provided on the Electors' Meetings page.

For more information about petitions, deputations or public question time please contact us