A Loddon Shire councillor has made an impassioned plea for the council to change the time schedule for its forum meetings to better promote "inclusion" for those with "caring responsibilities".
Councillor Linda Jungwirth successfully moved a motion at the council's ordinary meeting to push back council forum starting times to better accommodate those with parenting duties, including herself.
The previous starting times for council forums was 8:30am but after the newly implemented motion the start time will shift to 10am.
Cr Jungwirth said during her speech in support of the motion that the start times as it stands affects her ability to properly care for her children.
Single parent with teens
"As a single parent of teenagers, one with cognitive disability, the current meeting time of 8:30(am) for forums negatively impacts me, my children and can cost council money in care costs"
"I ask you to reconsider my request for a 10am start time".
Cr Jungwirth said that by shifting the start time, the Loddon Shire was allowing for greater "inclusion" of a "cross-section" of the community.
"We need to modernise meeting processes to allow everyone to be able to participate and to allow those with caring responsibilities to meet their morning care obligations prior to attending council forums and committees," she said.
"This is a matter of council demonstrating flexibility, adaptability and inclusion and allowing a greater cross-section of our community to be able to participate in council.
"This ultimately allows representation of greater diversity."
Plans for 2024 in focus
The motion was raised while council were discussing the 2024 council meeting schedule outlined in the council papers.
The council forum meetings are scheduled to take place once a month.
The motion was carried after support from Cr Wendy Murphy with Cr Neil Beattie voting against and Cr Dan Straub abstaining from voting.