How to have your say at Council

All Councils in NSW are independent, locally elected corporate bodies. Local communities are encouraged to have a say in what their Council does and how they do it. There are a number of ways that you can participate in council affairs.


Vote in elections, referendums and polls

Elections of Councillors are held every four years in NSW. You don’t have to own a house or be a ratepayer to vote, but your name must be on the council electoral roll in your local government area (Narrabri Shire). It is very important to vote because the people who are elected are responsible for deciding what the council does. You may be fined by the Australian Electoral Commission if you don’t vote.

Run for election as a local government councillor

For more information on running for election in Local Government elections please visit Council's Voting and Elections page.



Attend council meetings

Anyone can attend council meetings, whether it is a meeting of the whole council or one of council’s committees. To find out the times and places of these meetings, contact your council or check your local newspaper. Narrabri Shire Council sets aside time at the beginning of its meetings for members of the public to speak on items within the agenda. This is called Speaking in the Public Forum(PDF, 57KB) .  You need to contact Council prior to the meeting if you wish to do this. Council meetings may sometimes be closed to the public if they are discussing confidential information.



Participate in council committees

Councils often set up committees to help them develop various plans and policies. If you want to find out about or participate in these committees, contact council.

Look at council documents

Members of the public are entitled to have access to a range of council documents. Access is usually free, but you may have to pay reasonable photocopying charges.
For more information about obtaining council documents, please visit the page on How to Access Council Information.

Participating in the development of council plans and policies

Having a say in the development of council plans and policies helps to make sure that your needs are taken into account and the final plan or policy benefits you and your community.
Draft plans are usually put on public exhibition for at least 28 days in which time you can submit your comment to Council.

Some of the plans you can have a say in include your council's:

Operational Plan - this plan contains the main activities the council plans to carry out and what they hope to achieve by these activities. This plan is part of Council's Integrated Planning and Reporting framework.  
Social or community plans - this plan identifies and includes action to address the needs of specific groups in the community.  
Plans of management for community land - these plans identify important features of community land, explain how it will be managed, and how it may be used or developed.


Read Council's Annual Report

Council’s annual report can show you whether programs that affect your community have actually been implemented and how well they have been implemented.


Provide customer feedback

If you are pleased with a particular Council service or member of staff, contact the Council and let them know this.

If you have a problem with your Council, talk to Council staff first. If you are not satisfied with their response, you could contact the mayor or your elected councilors. If you are not satisfied with the way council has handled your complaint, you should contact the Department of Local Government or the NSW Ombudsman.