20-28 Rules on attendance at council and committee meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic as of 1 July 2020

Category: Circular to CouncilsStatus: Active
Circular Details: 20-28 / 3 July 2020 / A709308Contact: Council Governance Team/ 02 4428 4100/
Previous Circular: 20-21 Further relaxation of restrictions on attendance at council and committee meetings during the COVID-19 pandemicAttachments: Nil
Who should read this: Councillors / General Managers / Council governance staffAction required: Council to Implement
PDF Version:Council Circular 20-28 – PDF

What’s new or changing

  • The Minister for Health and Medical Research, the Hon. Brad Hazzard MP (the Minister), made the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order (No 4) 2020 on 30 June 2020.
  • The new Public Health Order further relaxes restrictions on attendance at meetings by persons other than councillors and staff.

What this will mean for your council

  • Councillors and council staff may attend council and committee meetings in person. However, councils must continue to allow councillors and staff to attend and participate in meetings by audio visual links where it is reasonably practicable to do so.
  • Members of the public are permitted to attend meetings. However, councils must not allow persons to attend a meeting if the size of the meeting venue is insufficient to ensure there is 4 square metres of space for each person attending the meeting.
  • Councillors and council staff are not to be counted when calculating the space available for each person at the meeting venue and the number of persons who are attending a meeting.
  • Where councils exclude members of the public from meetings, they must livestream their meetings using audio-visual links to satisfy the requirement under section 10 of the Local Government Act 1993 for members of the public to be permitted to “attend” meetings.

Key points

  • A failure to comply with a direction in a Public Health Order is an offence under Section 10 of the Public Health Act 2010 that carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 6 months or a fine of up to $11,000 (or both) plus a further $5,500 fine each day the offence continues.

Where to go for further information

  • For further information please contact the Council Governance Team on 02 4428 4100 or by email at
  • More information on the new Public Health Order is available here.
  • For more specific guidance on compliance with the Public Health Order contact the NSW Police Force.

Tim Hurst
Deputy Secretary
Local Government, Planning and Policy