In a first for Parkes Shire Council, Councillors and senior staff met via video link this week for the April Ordinary Council Meeting.

Streaming live to Facebook on Tuesday afternoon, the monthly meeting was conducted online to ensure the community could continue to watch the proceedings of Council while also adhering to the Government's COVID-19 social distancing measures.

"This is a very historic meeting", Parkes Shire Mayor, Cr Ken Keith OAM said.

"It's the first time in 137 years of local government in Parkes, that a meeting is being legally conducted without Councillors having to be personally present and is also the first time that the meeting will be live streamed to the community."

During the virtual meeting, Councillors heard from Council's General Manager, Kent Boyd about the organisation's response to the COVID-19 pandemic at a local level, and the measures being implemented to support affected residents and business owners and operators.

Councillors endorsed a recommendation to introduce a number of initiatives to support local business, including;

  • Waiving of landing fees for REX airlines for a six (6) month period
  • The modification of the Rating Hardship Policy to cater for those experiencing hardship in paying council rates
  • An increase in the local business pricing evaluation advantage Local Purchasing Policy from 5% to 10%.
  • Council's Tourism partnership program to be reviewed for next financial year
  • Discounted fees for a range of development services such as outdoor dining, food inspection, and development applications to assist affected businesses in re-establishing their operations.

As part of the April meeting, the Draft Parkes Shire Local Strategic Planning Statement (LSPS) was also tabled, which identifies Council's 20-year vision for land use planning in the Parkes Shire.

Director Planning and Environment, Brendan Hayes said "The Statement sets out planning priorities and actions, and the means to monitor and report on the delivery of the actions identified. It does not of itself propose any changes to land use zoning but intends to set the future direction for planning in Parkes Shire."

Having been endorsed by Councillors, the draft statement will go on public exhibition for 28 days for comment.

The video and audio recording of the April Council Meeting is available on Council's Meetings web page, along with the meeting minutes.