Orange City Council is one of four major NSW councils to call for councillors to be able to attend post-COVID-19 meetings online.
The push by Orange, Albury, Wagga Wagga and Waverley councils will be considered by the board of Local Government NSW after this week's annual LGNSW conference. The conference was conducted online due to coronavirus restrictions.
I think it will get supportCr Reg Kidd, Orange mayor
Orange mayor Cr Reg Kidd said the option for attending meetings through online platforms including Zoom could widen the diversity of people seeking to stand for council.
However, Cr Kidd said online meetings should not become a fulltime replacement for in-person attendance.
"There is a need for face-to-face meetings," he said.
Cr Kidd said the online option should be available to suit circumstances where councillors were unable through work, family life, personal or health reasons to attend the council chamber for a particular meeting.
He said it could help councillors juggle commitments.
"I don't think it would work all the time," he said."I don't think it is a substitute for having council meetings for people there. We need the social interaction."
He said he expected the LGNSW board would back the councils' motions, most likely next month.
"I think it would be very, very hard to knock it back. It think it will get support, along those lines."
He said it was similar to Telehealth online contact.
"Telemedicine is part of medicine but the reality is it suits certain circumstances." He said many people preferred to discuss health issues face-to-face with doctors.
OCC has also requested LGNSW review how councillors can vote online.
Waverley council's submission called for changes to the Local Government Act to allow for councillors "in exceptional circumstances" to attend meetings online.
Another submission by OCC calling for support for Working with Children and police checks for elected councillors will also be discussed by the LGNW board.
Cr Kidd said not all 140 motions were discussed at the conference due to time constraints.
A submission from Blayney Shire Council advocating the transfer of emergency management to the state government from local government, including the ownership of Rural Fire Services and State Emergency Service infrastructure, was carried.
That included removing a $120 million annual contribution by local government to emergency services.
The LGNSW will now call on the state government to make the changes.
A call from Cabonne Council for the state government to commit to an extra round of funding for community infrastructure projects, using local tradespeople and buying local supplies, was also carried.
But the conference rejected a call by a southern NSW council to replace the current council voting system where voting preferences are allocated, with a first past the post system to remove preference deals.
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