This coming Monday (27 February) Willoughby Council is considering a proposal to ‘webcast’ its meetings. A webcast is a video broadcast of an event transmitted across the Internet. So we can watch Council meetings at home. (A bit like Gogglebox).
The Officer’s report states:
“Transparent, participatory democracy is at the heart of local government. Public access to proceedings can increase confidence in the exercise of Council decision making. Council meetings are held in the evenings and members of the public are occasionally required to wait for the agenda item in which they have an interest. Live webcasting can enable the public to be present in real time when decisions that may affect them are being made. Members of the community are also able to be aware of the debate around particular issues, either as it is happening or subsequently, without having to travel to the Council Chambers”.
Both Mosman and North Sydney Councils are already webcasting Council meetings.
The Officer goes on to say: “Given that Council is in a pre-merger state, it would be preferable to defer consideration of this issue until a merger is proclaimed to ensure that the most economical option is considered and Council is not in the position of paying unnecessary monthly maintenance costs.:
This is a furphy. Even after amalgamation, Willoughby residents will be paying for webcasting.
The Officer’s recommendation is:
“That Council defer consideration of this issue until after amalgamation to enable an assessment of the technology used by North Sydney and Mosman Councils to ensure the most economical solution.”
There is no certainty as to when Willoughby might be amalgamated. This appears to be another example of Council failing to act in a timely manner.