Public question time

Elderly man sitting in a crowd at a meeting or presentation

Council meetings are an integral part of the planning, policy and decision-making process of Council. We encourage members of the public to attend Council meetings and participate during public question time.

To enable the preparation of a considered response, it's best to submit your question as early as possible. You've got up until 4 hours before the Council meeting begins to have the question lodged with Council – any questions received after that time will be treated as correspondence, with a written response provided as per our Customer Service Charter. Ordinary Meetings of Council typically begin at 7 pm, so questions will need to be lodged by 3 pm.

As to the form of questions, they must be in writing, preferably in English, and be 75 words or less. Questions may include a short preamble (up to 150 words). A maximum of one question will be accepted from any one person per Council meeting.

If you require assistance with providing a question in writing and or in English, then you are able seek support from Council via an interpreter service if required.

All questions responded to and answers provided during Public Question Time shall be recorded in the Public Minutes of the Council Meeting. For assistance with public questions, please contact Council.

Lodge a public question


Via email

Please include your question in an email to Council titled "Public Question Time" at least four (4) hours prior to the start of the Council meeting. Council can be emailed via

In writing

Please enclose your question in an envelope marked "Public Question Time" and addressed to:

Borough of Queenscliffe
PO Box 93
Queenscliff VIC 3225

In person

Please visit Council offices at 50 Learmonth Street, Queenscliff between 9:00am and 4:30pm weekdays, where one of our friendly customer service team will assist you with lodging your question.

The purpose of the Public Question Time Guidelines is to ensure that all public questions can be answered within the allocated timeframe for Public Question Time, and prevent unhelpful debate.

Council has provided the opportunity for any member of the public to submit a question relating to any issues in which Council has a direct interest or responsibility to the Ordinary Meeting of Council usually held on the fourth Wednesday of every month. Wherever possible, Council will answer the public questions as part of the Ordinary Council Meeting.


  1. Public Question Time is specifically available for questions from residents, ratepayers, businesses or any other interested party.
  2. Questions relating to specific Planning Permit Applications (or other Statutory Planning matters) should be stated in writing as part of Council's Planning Application process. These matters will not be considered during Public Question Time.
  3. A maximum of one question will be accepted from any one person per Council meeting. If multiple questions are asked about a topic the Chairperson and/or Chief Executive Officer may, if appropriate, group the public questions with a common theme and provide one response as a whole.
  4. Where a question is taken on notice, a reply shall be sent consistent with the timelines in Council’s Customer Service Charter.
  5. It is recommended that questions be limited to 75 words and may include a short preamble (up to 150 words).
  6. The submitted Questions will be considered in turn. Questions received for Public Question Time will be read out by either the submitter, the nominated Councillor Chairperson or whomever the Chairperson directs to read the question.
  7. A maximum of 30 minutes has been allocated for answering all questions in accordance with Council's Governance Rules.
  8. Questions must be written and received by the Chief Executive Officer at least four (4) hours prior to the start of the Council meeting. Questions received after this time will be treated as correspondence and a written response provided consistent with Council's Customer Service Charter. Questions can be lodged online, via email, via post or in person by completing a Public Question Time Form.
  9. The Chairperson or Chief Executive Officer may disallow any question which is considered to:
    • Relate to a matter beyond the power or duties of Council;
    • Be defamatory, indecent, offensive, abusive, irrelevant, trivial or objectionable in language or nature;
    • Be confidential in nature or of legal significance;
    • Be repetitive of a question already answered, whether at the same or any earlier meeting;
    • Be aimed to embarrass a Councillor or member of Council staff;
    • Relate to personnel matters;
    • Relate to the personal hardship of any resident or ratepayer;
    • Relate to proposed developments or legal advice;
    • Relate to matters affecting the security of Council property;
    • Relate to any other matter which Council considers would prejudice the Council or any person.

    Answers to questions shall be given immediately, if possible, or taken on notice if an on-the-spot answer is not available. (Where a question is taken on notice, a written response will be forwarded to them consistent with Council’s Customer Service Charter).


Process for responding to Public Questions and the Role of Chairperson (Mayor):

  1. The Chairperson will ascertain that the person asking the question is present in the gallery (if the meeting is being held in person). If the person declines or is not present, the Chairperson will read out or direct the question be read out. The response will be read out at the meeting.
  2. The Chairperson has the discretion to seek clarification of the question if deemed necessary but otherwise the person asking the question is not permitted to enter into debate with or directly question Councillors or members of Council staff.
  3. The Chairperson will either answer the question or nominate the relevant Portfolio Councillor or officer to provide the answer to the question.
  4. It is important to note that the Council Meeting is a legal forum for Council decision making. It is not an arena for community and Council debate through Public Question Time. Therefore the person who submitted the question is not permitted to enter into debate with or directly question the Mayor, Councillors or Council officers.
  5. All questions and answers provided in Public Question Time shall be recorded in the Public Minutes of the Council Meeting. For public questions taken on notice, the question and answer be included in the Public Question Time Status Update for the following Ordinary Council Meeting agenda.
  6. Supplementary information provided with a Public Question will not be recorded in the minutes.