Would you be more inclined to tune in to a council meeting if it were streamed on the internet?
What if you could play it back a couple of days after, or skip to a certain debate you’re interested in?
It’s been proven here at the Southern Highland News that people are interested in what happens at our fortnightly council meetings.
We have streamed special meetings, such as envirnmental presentations, live to our Facebook page in the past and they have often been viewed more than a thousand times.
The reason? It’s probably the convenience. It’s difficult for residents to attend a meeting at 3.30pm every fortnight - in between school pick-up, work, extra curricular activities - it’s almost impossible for many to get to the council chambers at that time.
Wingecarribee Shire Council is one of the few councils in NSW that does not audio or video stream meetings. The community has asked for this many times, but still there is no action.
At the November 8 ordinary council meeting the debate about streaming returned. But councillors decided it would not go ahead for the time being.
The issue will return to the table in future, but why should residents have to wait? Residents should not be kept out of the loop on decisions made in their community because they can’t attend the meetings.
Some councilors agreed streaming was necessary while others argued that it could cause legal ramifications or result in people playing to the camera.
Local government should be all about transparency and clear communication.
Just recently the shire’s census data was revealed. Community satisfaction was surveyed and it was found that only 37 per cent of residents were very satisfied or satisfied with council.
Perhaps there would be more satisfied residents if the lines of communication were a little clearer.
Every community member has the right to now how and why decisions are made. Every decision made at each meeting will effect one resident somehow, but how are they to know if they don’t have access to these meetings.
Hopefully the issue will return to council sooner rather than later.
The community is asking to be included, hopefully our councillors listen.