Communications Panel Meeting
A Communications Panel Meeting of Byron Shire Council will be held as follows:
Conference Room, Station Street, Mullumbimby
Thursday, 14 September 2017
General Manager I2017/1294
What is a “Conflict of Interests” - A conflict of interests can be of two types:
Pecuniary - an interest that a person has in a matter because of a reasonable likelihood or expectation of appreciable financial gain or loss to the person or another person with whom the person is associated.
Non-pecuniary – a private or personal interest that a Council official has that does not amount to a pecuniary interest as defined in the Local Government Act (eg. A friendship, membership of an association, society or trade union or involvement or interest in an activity and may include an interest of a financial nature).
Remoteness – a person does not have a pecuniary interest in a matter if the interest is so remote or insignificant that it could not reasonably be regarded as likely to influence any decision the person might make in relation to a matter or if the interest is of a kind specified in Section 448 of the Local Government Act.
Who has a Pecuniary Interest? - a person has a pecuniary interest in a matter if the pecuniary interest is the interest of the person, or another person with whom the person is associated (see below).
Relatives, Partners - a person is taken to have a pecuniary interest in a matter if:
§ The person’s spouse or de facto partner or a relative of the person has a pecuniary interest in the matter, or
§ The person, or a nominee, partners or employer of the person, is a member of a company or other body that has a pecuniary interest in the matter.
N.B. “Relative”, in relation to a person means any of the following:
(a) the parent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, lineal descends or adopted child of the person or of the person’s spouse;
(b) the spouse or de facto partners of the person or of a person referred to in paragraph (a)
No Interest in the Matter - however, a person is not taken to have a pecuniary interest in a matter:
§ If the person is unaware of the relevant pecuniary interest of the spouse, de facto partner, relative or company or other body, or
§ Just because the person is a member of, or is employed by, the Council.
§ Just because the person is a member of, or a delegate of the Council to, a company or other body that has a pecuniary interest in the matter provided that the person has no beneficial interest in any shares of the company or body.
Disclosure and participation in meetings
§ A Councillor or a member of a Council Committee who has a pecuniary interest in any matter with which the Council is concerned and who is present at a meeting of the Council or Committee at which the matter is being considered must disclose the nature of the interest to the meeting as soon as practicable.
§ The Councillor or member must not be present at, or in sight of, the meeting of the Council or Committee:
(a) at any time during which the matter is being considered or discussed by the Council or Committee, or
(b) at any time during which the Council or Committee is voting on any question in relation to the matter.
No Knowledge - a person does not breach this Clause if the person did not know and could not reasonably be expected to have known that the matter under consideration at the meeting was a matter in which he or she had a pecuniary interest.
Participation in Meetings Despite Pecuniary Interest (S 452 Act)
A Councillor is not prevented from taking part in the consideration or discussion of, or from voting on, any of the matters/questions detailed in Section 452 of the Local Government Act.
Non-pecuniary Interests - Must be disclosed in meetings.
There are a broad range of options available for managing conflicts & the option chosen will depend on an assessment of the circumstances of the matter, the nature of the interest and the significance of the issue being dealt with. Non-pecuniary conflicts of interests must be dealt with in at least one of the following ways:
§ It may be appropriate that no action be taken where the potential for conflict is minimal. However, Councillors should consider providing an explanation of why they consider a conflict does not exist.
§ Limit involvement if practical (eg. Participate in discussion but not in decision making or vice-versa). Care needs to be taken when exercising this option.
§ Remove the source of the conflict (eg. Relinquishing or divesting the personal interest that creates the conflict)
§ Have no involvement by absenting yourself from and not taking part in any debate or voting on the issue as if the provisions in S451 of the Local Government Act apply (particularly if you have a significant non-pecuniary interest)
Clause 375A of the Local Government Act 1993 – Recording of voting on planning matters
(1) In this section, planning decision means a decision made in the exercise of a function of a council under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979:
(a) including a decision relating to a development application, an environmental planning instrument, a development control plan or a development contribution plan under that Act, but
(b) not including the making of an order under Division 2A of Part 6 of that Act.
(2) The general manager is required to keep a register containing, for each planning decision made at a meeting of the council or a council committee, the names of the councillors who supported the decision and the names of any councillors who opposed (or are taken to have opposed) the decision.
(3) For the purpose of maintaining the register, a division is required to be called whenever a motion for a planning decision is put at a meeting of the council or a council committee.
(4) Each decision recorded in the register is to be described in the register or identified in a manner that enables the description to be obtained from another publicly available document, and is to include the information required by the regulations.
(5) This section extends to a meeting that is closed to the public.
Communications Panel Meeting
3.1 Communications Panel Meeting held on 6 July 2017
4. Staff Reports
4.1 Draft Emergency Communications Plan.......................................................................... 4
Staff Reports - General Manager 4.1
Report No. 4.1 Draft Emergency Communications Plan
Directorate: General Manager
Report Author: Annie Lewis, Media and Communications Coordinator
File No: I2017/1285
Theme: Corporate Management
The Draft Emergency Communications Strategy has been reviewed by ET and is ready to be placed on public exhibition.
The Communications Panel recommends the Draft Emergency Communications Plan be put on public exhibition and if no non-supportive submissions are received, that it is adopted.
Donna Johnston wrote/updated the Draft Emergency Communication Plan (20 June 2017) prior to her leaving and it was discussed at the Communications Panel Meeting held on 6 July 2017. The recommendation from that meeting was:
That the Draft Emergency Communication Plan is reported to Council as part of the Review of Natural Disaster Protocols Report.
The plan was developed as part of the review of Ex Cyclone Debbie to provide guidance and support for future events.
While recognising that the administration is in the progress of developing a Business Continuity Plan, the Emergency Communication Plan has been developed to act as an interim internal document.
The plan also acts to support Part 1 the Council resolution 17-130 from 20 April, 2017.
Mayoral Minute No. 8.1 Review of Natural Disaster Response Protocols
Resolved that a Natural Disaster report be brought to Council prior to the Winter that:
1. Reviews and reports on Council extreme weather and disaster communication protocols, including:
a) Investigation on the use of SMS messaging to update, inform and alert residents at times of extreme weather events
b) Liaising with other high subscriber media outlets to provide as broad coverage as possible
c) Considering regularity of community updates that may include updates at least four times daily that include
i) status updates on Council controlled assets (including sporting centres, libraries and pools)
ii) infrastructure (including roads, bridges, causeways, parks and cycleways)
iii) updates provided by external organisations and essential and emergency service providers
d) Contracting extra temporary communication staff to support the work of permanent communication staff
e) Consideration of a register of residents located in close proximity to critical points be listed as a community contact
The DRAFT Emergency Communication Plan is in addition to the Tweed Byron Local Emergency Management Plan (EMPLAN); the EMPLAN details arrangements for, prevention of, preparation for, response to and recovery from emergencies within the Tweed/Byron Local Government Areas.
Council’s DRAFT Emergency Communication Plan details
key personnel, actions, key message requirements and example messages; it is
broken into three sections of:
The Communications Panel was asked to review the plan for input and support prior to it being reported to Council as part of the report to Resolution 17-130.
The Draft Plan was discussed at a Communications Panel meeting on 6 July where it was recommended it be deferred and reported back to the next meeting in August.
The Draft Plan also needed to be reviewed by the Executive Team and their staff. This has occurred and there have been no changes.
Actions within the plan will require resources should they occur.
Statutory and Policy Compliance Implications