Cr Michelle Cook put forward a motion at the most recent Weddin Shire Council ordinary meeting that the Shire do more to stamp out violence in the community.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
The motion was seconded by Cr Jan Parlett prior to being opened up for discussion.
"I'm happy to second that as I think it is a very important topic for our community," Cr Parlett said.
Cr Cook addressed Council on the topic highlighting the three initiatives she would like to see implemented.
"My motion is for three initiatives," Cr Cook said.
"One is that Council undertakes to write, support, and implement a Policy based on all forms of Violence and Abuse for the Weddin Shire. Including domestic, family violence, gendered based violence and elder abuse.
"My second initiative is to setup a working group to collaborate information about family and domestic violence and related concerns in the Weddin Shire. The priorities of our local community and how to address these issues.
"The third initiative is to support the 16 days of activism from 25th November to the 10th of December, to connect with community organisations, to engage with education and awareness campaign."
Cr Cook said she had two parts, one part is her motion and the other was to propose a policy.
"The reason I have put forward the motion is that we need to have a motion to discuss issues in Council, so that's why there is a motion put," she said.
"When I did search the Weddin Shire website there wasn't a policy on domestic or family violence. We have 78 policies but not one on this key issue."
Comments from Council in the business paper stated there needs to be more clarification on what the local policy will cover to 'address the issues at the organisational level', there also needed to be a clear funding source in regards to Cr Cook's first motion.
In regards to the motion of a working group Council reported that though it would support a working group, it has not been documented that a Council has organised or run such a group.
"Council Officers see the importance of establishing a working group however notes that in the instances provided through the NSW Communities and Justice database, these groups have not been established by Councils but through other service providers such as Mission Australia or neighbourhood centres," the response in the motion read.
"Though Councils are often a member to support the group's objective."
The report went on to say that Council officers would be unable to set up such a group as there is no staff who are qualified to do so.
"Under the current staffing resources and having nobody suitably qualified to undertake the lead, Council Officers would be unable to set up a working group," the report read.
"Council will need to consider the review of the Workforce Plan to fund a suitably qualified person to undertake this lead, noting that there are still a number of key positions such as Work, Health and Safety, Human Resources, Information Technology and an Accountant that are predicted to require further resourcing within the Workforce Plan."
The report went on to say financially there is no availability of funds to implement the motion.
In regards to motion three, the report read that Council could support the activism through it's social media platform and by advertising in the Grenfell Record.
In addressing the Council concerns Cr Cook said the working group would establish and clarify the policy, that she had been in contact with Councillors from Sydney on a Local Government DV forum and they are more than happy to share their resources and plans to help Weddin create a policy.
Cr Cook went on to state that she believed Council needs to look at diversifying its resourcing.
"We need to address the staffing imbalance in our organisation and that some of our key roles are not yet filled.
"I will say that we were able to hire two suitably qualified engineers to help with the Main Street project and I don't think that was addressed in the workforce plan," Cr Cook said.
"I think we need to address what we can and can't do and how we can action items such as two qualified engineers but we can't..."
Cr Cook was interrupted at that point for moving off topic.
She returned to topic and then said that in regards to the support from Council in the ad for activism that she felt that it was a prime example of why a working group was needed to best address how to get messaging out.
"We're able to have barbecues for things like NAIDOC day, I don't see that there would be much difference to having a barbecue or something to address domestic violence."
The decision was made to split the three initiatives up into three separate motions.
Cr McKellar commended Cr Cook for her work on the issue of violence in the community.
"I did a little bit of research and I feel that the NSW Health Service is already covering a lot of the things you wish to duplicate," Cr McKellar said.
"We already have wonderful people looking after domestic violence, already, and I'd like to leave it to the professionals."
Cr Diprose also commended Ms Cook on her research surrounding her motion, especially in light of the Federal Government announcing funding. Cr Diprose said he would like to view other Council's policies and extend an invitation to the local health service to support their efforts in a more tangible way.
Cr Parlett also congratulated Cr Cook on her work and asked that the motion be ammended as there are service providers in the area and she feels that Council needs to be supportive of them. In regards to the policy, Cr Parlett suggested that Cr Cook bring back a report on other Council policies and communicating with service providers to find out what is needed rather than Council telling them.
Cr Cook said in response that there is only one social worker covering the local population and though she agrees that there is a service she feels that it is not enough.
The amended motions read 1. Council acknowledge and thank the local health services and Grenfell Voices Against Violence for their work. 2. (a) Delegate the GM to meet with the group and seek input or advice on how Weddin Shire Council may be able to assist them and report back to Council. Through a further notice of motion Cr Cook will prepare a report to come to a workshop with policies that are considered best practice in other Council areas. 3. Council will support the activism with social media promotion etc.
The amended motion then became the motion and it was carried.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.