Council Decisions – Briefing Sessions

What you may not know about Council decisions  (2008-2012).

Residents may not be aware that Liverpool City Council conducts scheduled briefing sessions for all Councillors, usually held five days before the next General Council Meeting. These sessions present critical information to Councillors that is often very difficult to convey via written information. Council Officers present reports on issues involving planning, finance and Community services to be decided upon at the following Council Meeting.

During Council’s term of 2008 – 2012, I rarely missed a briefing session, of the eleven Councillors, fewer than five attended on a regular basis, very rarely did any of the five (later four) Labor Councillors including the Mayor attend. That begs the question, how can non-attending Councillors make an informed decision when they do not know the full ramifications of the issues that come before Council?

There are more than 100 Council briefings and information sessions conducted in a Councillors’ term. Of those, the Independent Councillors attend the most, followed by two Liberal Councillors, rarely if ever, does more than one Labor Councillor attend any of these sessions. These claims are easily verified by reading Councils published reports which list Councillor attendances and how they voted on most issues.

“Independent” Councillors are often accused as being “Liberal – Independents” or anti Labor and vote as a group on controversial issues. The reason for that is simply because Independent and Liberal Councillors attend the vast number of briefing and training sessions. At these sessions highly qualified Council staff, and relevant experts in their fields, present reports that allow for informal questions and discussions. These often  result in a better understanding of the issues involved.  It would be very difficult for any Councillor not attending these briefing sessions to make an informed decision and one that is in the best interest of the community, irrespective of the length of service as a Councillor.

Council staff prepare detailed reports for briefing sessions and make recommendations which are usually limited to; “approval”, “refusal” or “do nothing”, however during Councillor briefing sessions the initial recommendations may change due to additional information not previously taken into consideration. Councillors not attending briefing sessions and relying purely on initial Councils written information and recommendations may not realize the full ramifications of their decisions.  That may lead to debate in Council Meetings that at times may get a little overheated.  However, very rarely does it get to the same level encountered in State and Federal Parliaments.

Overall Councillors agree upon the majority of issues that come before Council, it is only the rare and controversial issues that attract media attention and tend to polarize Councillors and residents alike. I believe that Councillors attending regular briefing, training and information sessions have made the best possible decisions affecting the majority of Liverpool residents.

As a Councillor I attend every possible Community Forum, Resident Action Group, Independent Hearing and Assessment Panels (IHAP), Joint Regional Planning Panels (JRPP) as well as my many Council Committee representations. That allows me to make decisions that reflect those of the community. While they may not always be popular, in my humble opinion they are carried out to the best of my ability for the majority of Liverpool’s  182,000 residents of which 70,000 are ratepayers and  irrespective of any perceived political bias. 

I am always willing to discuss any issue with residents and ratepayers alike, however, the outcome has to be in the best interests of the majority of Liverpool ratepayers and residents.

Cr Peter Harle JP.

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If you wish to discuss any of the above or any Council matter, feel free to contact me at any time you consider reasonable on;

Phone: (02) 8090 2646
Mobile: 0412 736 956
private email:  Peter Harle
or Councillor email: Councillor Harle