THERE’S no question the coronavirus pandemic is affecting many areas of life, including a drop in questions and public presentations to South Gippsland Shire Council.

Council moved quickly to close the public gallery and media attendance as COVID-19 took hold.

Both the March and April ordinary meetings were held behind closed doors with public and media access provided via livestream. This week’s May ordinary meeting will run the same way.

However, it’s unusual that meetings are not preceded by open public presentations with individuals and community groups taking the opportunity to present on matters of importance or concern to them, but that is exactly what has happened since the pandemic procedures kicked in.

Council has made alternative arrangements to, in its words, “ensure that the views and questions from our community members are still heard” yet no one has submitted an expression of interest to present to council in March, April or May.

There were no petitions or joint letters and no previous questions taken on notice at the previous ordinary council meeting in March or April. A number of submitted questions were addressed at the council meetings.

Visit the council website for details on how to submit expressions of interest or public questions at https://www.southgippsland.vic.gov.au/info/20004/your_council/322/questions_for_council_meetings.