Council turns deaf ear to recording debates
QUESTIONS asked at public meetings in Belmont soon will be recorded electronically but Belmont City councillors have again baulked at using audio recording technology for their debates and decisions.
Currently at council meetings, questions and their responses from the mayor or senior council staff are summarised by the council’s minute takers – which has in the past led to disputes over accuracy and suggestions that technology could assist.
There is no legal requirement to record public meetings, as happens at some Perth councils, and Belmont council staff had recommended against the use of audio technology ahead of last Tuesday’s council meeting. However, the council decided that audio recording would help to verify minutes and voted to start using the technology next year – for public question time only.
Cr Janet Powell said she hoped the change would alleviate “he-said, she-said” style disagreements in future.
Cr Laura Cayoun reiterated her long-held belief that audio of the entire meeting should be available to the public and suggested she would soon push to introduce live streaming of Belmont council meetings.
Mayor Phil Marks said there was some concern, but no proof, that audio recording of entire meetings would inhibit some councillors from being prepared to speak as openly about matters.