Mediation Meetings


 If objections have been received, it is Council policy that a mediation meeting must be held.  Mediations are informal meetings providing opportunity for objectors to express their concerns direct to an applicant and for an applicant to explain to objectors in detail the design rationale of their proposal

Mediation meetings are facilitated by Council officers and Councillors may attend as observers and may play a role in encouraging mutually satisfactory outcomes.  As mediation occurs prior to an assessment of an application being made, officers and Councillors cannot provide any opinion on the merits of a proposal.

To ensure mediation meetings are conducted fairly and that every opportunity is given to achieving mutually satisfactory outcomes, the City of Ballarat has developed the following protocol for the conduct of meetings.

Mediation Meeting Processes

  • A Council officer will welcome all participants and explain the purpose of the mediation meeting.
  • All participants will introduce themselves.
  • The Council officer will provide an outline of the application, and any relevant planning policies or guidelines that must be applied in the assessment of a proposal. The applicant will then provide a more detailed explanation of the proposal.
  • The objector(s) will outline their areas of concern and through the officer chairing the meeting ask any relevant questions (either to the officer or applicant).
  • The applicant will respond to the questions and the areas of concern and either explain the reasons for the particular design or, if possible, seek to explore changes that address the objectors' concerns.
  • Prior to the conclusion of the meeting the officer will clearly summarise any outcomes of the meeting.

 Mediation Meetings Ground Rules for Behaviour

  • Respect each other's right to speak without interruption.
  • Be aware of how long and how often we speak so that all have time to contribute to a discussion.
  • Make every effort to listen to each other so that we understand the various perspectives we have.
  • Speak for ourselves (for example, 'I think' and 'I feel' rather than 'everyone knows' or 'you should').
  • Not use personal attacks or put downs or use expletives.
  • Use inclusive language (that is, not racist, sexist, ageist).
  • If appropriate, discuss whether any aspect raises a question of confidentiality.
  • Stay to the end or negotiate special arrangements.
  • Avoid interruptions from mobile phones etc (or agree on what level of use is acceptable).
  • Expect that the facilitator will encourage everyone to follow the guidelines.