Legal Insights

Update: Council functions during the COVID-19 breakout

By Patrick Ibbotson, Michael Winram, Joshua Same, Sarah De Ceglie

• 07 April 2020 • 2 min read

In our recent article, Council functions during the COVID-19 outbreak, we explained the options councils can take to ensure council meetings can proceed during the COVID-19 outbreak.

As an update to this communication, on Wednesday 25 March the COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures) Act 2020 (NSW) came into force. The Act amends a number of Acts, including the Local Government Act 1993.

With respect to the Local Government Act, the Act:

  • removes the need for councillors to attend council meetings in person
  • permits council meetings to be held remotely using audio visual link or in any other manner approved by the Minister for Local Government, if audio visual links are not available
  • provides members of the public access to council meetings via webcast or in any other manner approved by the Minister for Local Government.

Other changes enable the Minister to postpone council elections, and make regulations to further modify the application of the Local Government Act to respond to the public health emergency caused by the current pandemic.

We are committed to providing guidance to councils during this difficult time and will ensure we continue to provide further timely updates regarding this Act and the impacts of COVID-19 on the functions of local government in NSW as they arise.

Please get in touch with a member of our NSW Local Government team, if we can assist you with navigating these issues.

Maddocks has produced guides to a range of legal issues raised by the coronavirus (COVID-19). You can access these guides here.

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