Web alive with sound of meet­ings

Western Suburbs Weekly - - From The Archives -

AU­DIO recorded at Town of Cam­bridge coun­cil meet­ings will be avail­able on its web­site from Septem­ber, with the lo­cal gov­ern­ment also set to weigh up live-stream­ing of­fi­cial gath­er­ings on­line.

At a meet­ing last Tues­day, coun­cil­lors backed an amended rec­om­men­da­tion from coun­cil­lor Jane Pow­ell who asked record­ings be made avail­able to the pub­lic within seven days of meet­ings.

The first au­dio file will be avail­able fol­low­ing the Septem­ber coun­cil meet­ing, although Cr Pow­ell’s amend­ment did ask for the files to be re­moved af­ter one cal­en­dar month.

The Wem­b­ley ward coun­cil­lor said she was all for trans­parency but was con­cerned main­tain­ing the record­ings could un­der­mine coun­cil de­ci­sions.

“Af­ter the month, we’re on to the next bit, the next meet­ing and we should be, as a coun­cil, stand­ing by the de­ci­sions we have made,” she said.

Cr An­dres Tim­mer­ma­nis said he had no is­sue with the au­dio record­ings, which are avail­able through Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quests, be­ing avail­able in­def­i­nitely.

“They are a mat­ter of pub­lic record, they form part of our min­utes,” he said.

“I think when you rise to speak on a mat­ter you are con­scious of speak­ing in pub­lic.”

Part two of the rec­om­men­da­tion sug­gested the coun­cil re-con­sider live stream­ing meet­ings in early 2018 so a bud­get al­lo­ca­tion can be in­cluded in the 2018-19 draft bud­get.

The coun­cil es­ti­mates it will cost about $35,000 up front for ad­di­tional equip­ment in­clud­ing cam­eras and soft­ware and then $500 per meet­ing.

Fig­ures from the City of Vin­cent, which be­gan livestream­ing coun­cil brief­ings and meet­ings in May, showed av­er­age view­ing au­di­ences var­ied be­tween the coun­cils which of­fered the ser­vice.

Joon­dalup av­er­ages three view­ers per meet­ing from a pop­u­la­tion of 150,000 peo­ple, while Ger­ald­ton gets an au­di­ence of 25 from 40,000 res­i­dents and Bun­bury 20 from a pop­u­la­tion of 35,000. A re­port to Cam­bridge coun­cil­lors said, “on the face of it”, the in­vest­ment into live stream­ing may not sat­isfy a cost ben­e­fit anal­y­sis based on the low fig­ures else­where.

“A cheaper and more cost ef­fec­tive op­tion would be to make au­dio record­ings avail­able on the Town’s web­site, and would pro­vide the op­por­tu­nity to mon­i­tor the de­mand for the ser­vice,” the re­port said.

“If there is suf­fi­cient de­mand, then the coun­cil could de­cide to fur­ther in­vest in the live stream­ing equip­ment and pro­vide that level of ser­vice.”

Pic­ture: Town of Cam­bridge

Cr coun­cil­lor Jane Pow­ell.

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