About Council meetings
All Council decisions are made at council meetings:
Governance of meetings
The Local Government Act 1993 (Act) determines the general rules of council meetings. It specifies the role of the Mayor, Councillors and General Manager and includes requirements such as:
- the public access to meetings
- the number of meetings that must be held during the year
- the minimum number of Councillors that must be present to hold a meeting (quorum)
Council has also adopted a Code of Meeting Practice.(PDF, 1002KB) The code determines the rules that are specific to Cessnock City Council's meetings. It includes procedures for the general conduct of speeches and matters such as motions or amendments. The code complies with the Local Government (General) Regulations 2005.
Type of meetings
Council meetings are open to the public and are held on the first and third Wednesday of each month. There may be additional meetings from time to time, and dates may change during weeks with public holidays. Resolutions on any matter may be made at ordinary meetings.
There are occasions when we need to discuss items of a confidential nature. Under the Act, if the elected Council moves into closed session due to confidentiality, all members of the gallery, including the media, must leave the Chamber.
Occasionally Council holds extraordinary meetings. These are Council meetings held outside the normal meeting cycle, typically to consider matters of an urgent nature.
Minutes & agendas
Before each meeting, Council staff prepare business papers, detailing the items that are to be presented at the meeting. Papers can include reports, recommendations or notices of motion. Councillors use them to inform their decision.
Business papers are only proposals. Councillors may amend the proposals, decide not to pursue or approve them and can suggest a different course of action.
Once a decision is made, it becomes a resolution of Council and is recorded in Council Minutes.
Conflict of interest
Councillors (or members of a Council Committee) must disclose a conflict of interest when attending a meeting that concerns a matter in which they have a pecuniary interest.
The Councillor (or Council Committee member) must not be present at, or in sight of, the meeting of the Council or Committee:
- at any time during which the matter is being considered or discussed by the elected Council or Committee
- at any time during which the elected Council or Committee is voting on any question in relation to the matter
Councillors (or Council Committee members) are also required to disclose non-pecuniary conflicts of interest. Declarations are recorded in the Register of Conflict of Interest Disclosures at Council Meeting.(PDF, 1MB)