Whittlesea council has been revealed as one of the most secretive councils in Melbourne for the third year in a row, despite a drop in the number of decisions made behind closed doors.

Data published on the state government’s Know Your Council website revealed that in 2017-18, Whittlesea council made 21.75 per cent of its decisions in-confidence.

The City of Melbourne was the only metropolitan council to make more decisions (25.66 per cent) behind closed doors.

The state average was 9.29 per cent.

The amount of confidential decisions made at Whittlesea fell from 26.95 per cent in 2016-17 and 38 per cent in 2015-16.

The council says it is continuing to review matters submitted to council meetings with the aim of further reducing items considered in-confidence.

Neighbouring Hume council made 18.81 per cent of its decisions behind closed doors, down from 20 per cent in 2016-17.

Chief executive Domenic Isola said the council’s preference was to manage items in the open section of its meetings wherever possible.

However items relating to personal hardship of a resident, legal advice, contractual matters and matters affecting the security of council property are determined to be confidential under the Local Government Act, he said.

 

Hume council chief executive Domenic Isola.

 

The website also revealed that Hume council took an average of 147 days to decide on planning applications. The state average is 69 days.

Mr Isola said Hume contained many developing neighbourhoods which means planning applications dealt with by the council are often more complex than those seen in established parts of Melbourne.

“Hume City Council is working with the state government on a streamlining initiative that will deliver planning process efficiencies in Hume, and elsewhere in similar growth areas,” he said.