District council live-streams proposed

Encouraging “transparency and accountability” has prompted a local councillor to request Grant District Council to consider livestreaming meetings over the internet to the public.

Councillor Gavin Clarke requested council investigate livestreaming options and public access of council meetings.

A question on notice from Cr Clarke was answered on the pros and cons of livestreaming council meetings.

Corporate services director Gary Button noted that livestreaming could allow for a more transparent council, but would incur significant costs to get the system up and running.

He provided a snapshot of 11 regional councils around the state, including the South East.

Mr Button said that no other councils in the South East currently livestream meetings.

Meanwhile, an investigation into other councils in the state that do livestream showed they receive limited views.

In his report Mr Button said benefits included another engagement opportunity for residents, transparency and accountability of council decision making and access to real time information and debate.

Drawbacks identified included commitment from elected members to formal meeting procedures and etiquette, no significant demand for the resource and cost verses benefit.

In March 2021, council obtained quotes up to $15,000 for equipment to professionally provide livestreaming.

However, this did not include alterations that may need to be made to the council chambers or additional staffing support during council meetings.

In September last year councillors were provided with a demonstration of a video conferencing option.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Grant District and City Council each held one meeting online.

Meanwhile, City Council conducted a survey in 2019 to gauge community interest on the topic.

Around 58 responses were received with 33 in favour of watching meetings online while 25 expressed they would not.

Due to the limited community interest and associated installation and delivery costs, City Council decided not to progress with livestreaming.

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