Threats trigger security

Security and police have been engaged over threats from the public made to Macedon Ranges Shire Council staff.
Security guards screened all general public attending Wednesday’s ordinary council meeting following threats made relating to an agenda item up for discussion.
Acting Macedon Ranges chief executive John Hausler did not divulge the nature of the threats but said the matter was now in the hands of police.
Divisive items on the agenda included the proposed Gisborne Business Park Development Plan and Lancefield Development Plan. It is unclear if these matters or others were at the centre of the threats.
“Additional security measures were required to effectively manage any issues which may have arisen on the night as well as to ensure everyone’s safety,” Mr Hausler said.
“They were precautionary and temporary, and it is not anticipated they will be required for any other council meetings at this point in time.”
With security measures in place there was no hint of abnormal behaviour or sign of disruption at the meeting.
Mr Hausler said it was understood this was the first instance of professional security being engaged for a council meeting.
He said funding for security was part of the council’s annual budget.
“Funds are made available to ensure the safety of our facilities, staff, councillors and the community, including for events and activities as required throughout the year,” he said.
“The additional security for the May ordinary council meeting was fully covered by budget funds set aside for security.
“Where necessary we will take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of everyone at council meetings, including additional security.”
Mayor Janet Pearce said councillors were informed of the decision, made by CEO Margot Stork, and were supportive of the actions taken.
Ms Stork’s absence from the meeting was due to staff leave organised many months in advance of the date of the meeting.

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