Mutual Respect Charter endorsed

A new charter that emphasises the importance of mutual respect between Horsham Rural City Council staff, councillors and customers has been endorsed.

The Mutual Respect Charter is based on the principles of mutual respect, cooperation and a safe and respectful workplace, and outlines the rights and responsibilities of community members, councillors and staff in all Council-related interactions.

Mayor Robyn Gulline welcomed the adoption of the new charter, describing it as a “very important piece of policy”.

“Council employee, Councillor or Mayor are equally deserving of respect and kindness as any other person in our community. The expectation for human decency and kindness does not stop just because you work for or get elected to Council,” Cr Gulline said.

The charter commits Council to being accessible and responsive to the community and members of the public, to value respectful relationships with community and customers, and to respond to community member requests in a timely, fair and open manner.

“It’s important for our organisation and our customers that reasons are given that explain decisions, and there is an expectation of a fair and impartial assessment made based on the facts and merits of matters raised with Council,” Cr Gulline said.

“We want the community to feel comfortable in communicating its concerns and views without fear of reprisal.

“Our community has clearly told us that they want our municipality to be a caring, compassionate and supportive city for all members of the community. This charter is acting on that ambition – and respects the needs and role of both the community and of the Council.”

“I have no problem with differing opinions, alternative ideas or new approaches. But online trolling, hate speech and harassment is not ‘part of being a Council employee or Councillor’,” she said.

Posters of the document will be placed in prominent and relevant locations across council.

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