HAVING instigated the special electors’ meeting that led to the original requests for later council meetings, I thought it was important to have my say.
I would like to highlight some of the unsupported statements in the City of Swan report that came to the council meeting on Wednesday, and explain some of the history around this request.
At the time of the special electors’ meeting last May, we thought the issue had highlighted opportunities for improvements in the accessibility and process of council meetings; the start time being one of these.
I want to share some of the frustrations around this issue. When the council did eventually vote on this issue in September 2014, the results of the survey conducted were not published or considered before councillors voted.
We were told that the results were still being analysed.
Last week was the first time I saw the results. How on earth, could it take over a year to process the results of 48 residents?
Surely, no one can point to this as an example of good governance and process.
Now that the results of the two surveys conducted are in, it is very clear that in both cases the vast majority voted for a later start time.
The time of 6.30pm was the clear winner both times, with 62.5 per cent and 54.8 per cent of the vote.
In the first survey 80 per cent of respondents said they were likely or highly likely to attend later than 5.30pm, and for the second survey not a single person selected 5.30pm as their preferred time.
When council last voted on this issue in 2014, the officers’ report stated that the start times of metropolitan councils ranged from 6pm to 7.30pm.
It therefore seems the City of Swan is one of the earliest meeting times in Perth.
It also stated that a start time of 6.30pm would result in “the majority of council meetings concluding by 8.30pm (based on current durations)” — which seems entirely reasonable.