Minimum rule for petitions

The move includes a requirement that all petitions require a minimum of 25 signatures rather than the previous minimum of two.

Opposing Councillor Brian Corr said the jump from two to 25 was too great, which led Cr Mike Norman to request to amend the figure to 15.

Joondalup chief executive Garry Hunt said making amendments at such a late stage could mean the process of consultation with councillors and public advertising would have to start again.

Cr Norman argued it was a minor change.

‘I think it’s important that we allow our community to be able to put a petition in without too high a hurdle to get over, especially if it is a very local issue affecting just a relatively small number of residents,’ he said.

Cr John Chester agreed, but Cr Liam Gobbert said it was ‘far too late in the game to be making changes on the run’. Mr Pickard said councillors had the opportunity to make amendments before the law was released for public comment.

The amendment was defeated nine votes to four.

Cr Corr also said meetings should be recorded when councillors go behind closed doors.

‘We have previously been advised that you are putting the council at very considerable risk when you do that,’ Mr Hunt said. ‘The intent of going behind closed doors is to allow you to receive specific, often legal, advice and you run into all kinds of issues with FOI (freedom of information) and access to information and the legal advice is, don’t put yourself in that position.’

The new law, passed 11 votes to two, will come into effect after October as part of a mandatory review required by the Local Government Act 1995 within eight years.