City of Perth pushes stop on plans to publish audio recordings of committee meetings

City of Perth pushes stop on plans to publish audio recordings of committee meetings

AN EFFORT to have audio recordings from City of Perth committees published online was defeated at council last night.

Councillor Jemma Green moved the motion requesting City administration upload audio recordings from committees within 48 hours.

She said it would offer “more universal access” and impose very little additional cost.

MORE: Yagan Square starting to take shape

MORE: After 45 years, school’s out for Santa Maria College principal

MORE: Heathcote: new staircase closed amid claims it is unsafe

Cr Reece Harley backed the move, noting the City had many building owners who do not live in the country and could not attend committee meetings to hear full debates.

Cr Lily Chen argued that council was recorded and made public so there was, in her view, no transparency problem.

She suggested publishing committee meeting audio could make City officers reluctant to offer frank comments.

In response, City chief executive Martin Mileham said the committee was open to the public and City officers would give frank answers regardless of audio being recorded and published.

Crs Judy McEvoy and Keith Young asked how many people listened to the audio recordings of full council meetings, suggesting there was little public demand for committee audio.

Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said she was tired of “hearing about transparency as though we are not (transparent) – we are”.

Deputy Lord Mayor James Limnios asked Ms Scaffidi if there was anything council discussed in committee meetings that “should be withheld from the public”.

The Lord Mayor said she opposed the move to publish audio of committees until she saw “statistics that show it’s worth doing”.

When Cr Harley asked about property owners who could not attend, the Lord Mayor said any significant property owner would hire planning consultants to attend the committee meetings and report back.

The Lord Mayor was joined by Crs McEvoy, Yong and Chen in defeating the move.

Crs Harley, Green and Limnios were in favour; Crs Janet Davidson and Jim Adamos were absent.