Petitions Policy | City of Casey
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5 March 2019

Petitions Policy

Version 2.0

Purpose

This policy governs the way in which petitions are received at Council, and outlines the requirements of a valid petition to ensure that the rights of the community to lobby local government are met. This policy also seeks to ensure that the community are informed about their rights to privacy with regard to the personal information provided on a petition.

Definitions

CEO

means Chief Executive Officer

Council

means Casey City Council, being a body corporate constituted as a municipal Council under the Local Government Act 1989

Councillors

means the individuals holding the office of a member of Casey City Council

Council officer

means the Chief Executive Officer and staff of Council appointed by the Chief Executive Officer.

E-Petitions

means a digital or electronic petition.

Ordinary Meeting

an Ordinary Meeting of the Council, as defined in Section 83 of the Local Government Act 1989.

Petition

 means a request made of Council by five or more signatories using the correct form outlined in this policy.

Scope

This policy relates to all Petitions intended to be presented to Council within the context of Ordinary Council meetings. Petitions are requests made by five or more signatories. Petitions can only be presented at an Ordinary Meeting.

Requests signed by less than five signatories, are considered to be joint letters, and these will be noted at a Council meeting, if appropriate, at the discretion of the CEO.

The CEO may then forward the letter for action, if appropriate, to the relevant department or officer for action or response.       

Context

The ability for residents to petition Council to act on a request is a fundamental and important part of local democracy. To facilitate this, Council sets out the procedure by which petitions may be presented and provides information to the community on how petitions will be handled and acted upon in a consistent and procedurally fair manner. This policy also addresses the aspect of privacy in the provision of personal details at the point of collection, and outlines Council’s responsibility to be open and transparent in making material (including petitions) available to the general public on request.

Policy

Submitting a Petition to Council

Members of the community are able to submit a petition to Council via two methods:

a)           To a sitting Councillor

b)           Directly in writing to the CEO

Submitting a petition to a Councillor

A petition submitted to a Councillor may be tabled at an Ordinary Council Meeting for consideration.

If a petition with notice is addressed to a specific Councillor, that Councillor may read the petition out at an Ordinary Meeting without debate.

Council staff will deal with the head petitioner or other nominated person as appropriate to clarify any of the issues raised in the petition.

The head petitioner will be advised on receipt of the petition, and will be provided with the outcome of the request contained in the petition within a reasonable time-frame.

Submitting a petition to the Chief Executive Officer

A petition received by the CEO will be read out by the CEO at the Ordinary Council Meeting. 

A response may be provided by the CEO at that time, however if not, the petition is forwarded by the CEO to the appropriate Director for action. 

Council staff will deal with the head petitioner or other nominated person as appropriate to clarify any of the issues raised in the petition.

The head petitioner will be advised on receipt of the petition, and will be provided with the outcome of the request contained in the petition within a reasonable time-frame.

Writing a Petition

A template petition is found in Attachment A of this policy.

Requirements of a valid petition

A petition will be presented at an Ordinary Meeting only if it meets all of the following requirements:

1.      Although initial copies of petitions can be conveyed by email, the original document must be sighted and received by Council in a hardcopy format.

2.      The petition must be legible and in permanent writing (i.e. no pencil).

3.      The petition must be addressed to the CEO, the Mayor, or a Councillor, containing a request for action to be taken by Council.

4.      Each page of the petition must repeat the full wording of the petition as contained on the first page of the petition.

5.      Any signature appearing upon a page which does not bear the whole of the petition or request will not be considered by Council.

6.      In addition to the signatures of the petitioners, the names and residential addresses of all persons  who signed the petition must be provided.

7.      All signatures must be original signatures, not photocopied or scanned copies.

8.      The petition should not be indecent, abusive or objectionable in language or content.

9.      The petition should not relate to a Town Planning Application (a separate process exists for these, see Clause 5 below), and every page of a petition, including signatories to the petition must be on an original piece of paper and not pasted, stapled, or otherwise affixed to any other piece of paper.

Submitting your petition

Petitions should be forwarded by mail to City of Casey via at PO Box 1000, Narre Warren Vic 3805 or delivered in person to any sitting Councillor or Customer Service Centre.

E-Petitions

At the discretion of Councillors E-Petitions may be accepted.  E-Petitions should include the names and residential addresses of all persons who signed the petition and meet all other requirements listed in section 5.

Petitions relating to Town Planning Application

Petitions relating to a Planning Permit are treated as a formal objection.

Formal objections to a planning permit can be submitted via the form on Council’s website. These objections must comply with section 57 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (Vic).

  1. Your Privacy

To comply with the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic), personal information provided as part of the petition will only be used for the primary purpose for which it was provided – that is, to consider the petition. 

Any petitions tabled at Council will be included in the minutes of the Council meeting and will show the subject of the petition, the number of signatures and the head petition’s name.

The agenda and minutes are printed and available for the general public, and appear on Council’s website. 

As part of Council’s operations, any document incorporated into a Council agenda must be made publically available, including any petitions which are tabled. To view a petition tabled a Council please contact Council’s Governance Department. Council will not provide copies of any petitions to protect the privacy of signatories.

This means that any personal details, including names, addresses and signatories will be publically available.

On request Council will provide the contact details of the head petitioner to the media or members of parliament.

Administrative Updates

It is recognised that, from time to time, circumstances may change leading to the need for minor administrative changes to this document.  Where an update does not materially alter this document, such a change may be made administratively.  Examples include a change to the name of a Council department, a change to the name of a Federal or State Government department, and a minor update to legislation which does not have a material impact.  However, any change or update which materially alters this document must be by resolution of Council.

Review

The next review of this document is scheduled for completion by 1 January 2023.

Related Policies

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