Coun­cil turns deaf ear to record­ing de­bates

Southern Gazette (Victoria Park) - - News -

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.

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