City of Melville to consider live streaming of council meetings


City of Melville council meetings could be made available online.
City of Melville council meetings could be made available online.

YOU could soon be riding every motion, debate, deferral and deputation from the comfort of your home, with the City of Melville to consider live-streaming council meetings.

At the City’s last meeting, councillor Tim Barling asked for a review of Melville’s “recording of meetings” policy to include consideration to making video and audio available online.

“Allowing residents and ratepayers to access meeting recordings (or stream) meetings from the City’s website will enhance the transparency of the City and facilitate those that are unable to come to meetings to be more involved and informed,” he said.

Cr Barling said it would show the City was taking a pro-active approach to potential changes to the Local Government Act and save City residents, who would usually be funnelled through the Freedom of Information process, time and money when chasing details from meetings.

At the same meeting, Cr Nicholas Pazolli tried unsuccessfully to scrap the $30 charge imposed on people accessing meeting records until the review was presented to councillors later in the year.

Chief executive Shayne Silcox said considerable work was put in by staff to make the information suitable.

He said it was not a straight-forward process, with redactions having to be made to eliminate behind-closed-door conversations and defamatory comments.

“I believe the City should be able to recover those costs,” he said.

Cr Pazolli found mixed support from his colleagues too, with the proposed amendment lost 9-4.

Melville’s corporate services director Marten Tieleman said the review would consider a range of aspects, including any sticking points associated with the live-streaming of potentially defamatory comments.

The request from Cr Barling, which was backed unanimously, follows the AGM in December where residents asked the council to consider live streaming.

Local Government Minister David Templeman believed it was “inevitable” other councils would follow the likes of the City of Vincent and City of Joondalup in this space.

“Live-streaming is pretty easy to set up now,” he said.

“Will that improve transparency? Yes.

“Will it improve, perhaps, the behaviour of some council members during council meetings? Probably yes too.”

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