City of Melville to explore adding dedicated ‘governance and accountability’ page to website

Melville councillor Tim Barling has called for a dedicated governance and accountability page on the City’s website. Picture: Matt Jelonek d481056
Melville councillor Tim Barling has called for a dedicated governance and accountability page on the City’s website. Picture: Matt Jelonek d481056

CITY of Melville will explore adding a dedicated “governance and accountability” page on its website, despite one councillor asking: “who cares?”

A motion put forward by councillor Tim Barling at the City’s recent ordinary meeting asked for the page to include mayor and councillor sitting fees, allowances, meeting attendance records and declarations of interest.

All would be backdated to November.

The City’s current online gift and contribution-to-travel register would be moved to the new page as well.

Cr Barling’s motion was backed 10-2.

Cr Barling said the new page would consolidate information scattered throughout its new website, launched on May 8.

“Providing the information that is already available on (one) page will aid in its location by residents and ratepayers and other visitors to the web page thus increasing the City’s governance and accountability,” he said.

Despite the City being at the centre of a State Government-backed inquiry and fielding regular complaints about transparency from sections of the community, councillor Patricia Phelan posed the question: “who cares?”

“Apart from the forensic scientists which can also access (the information) under its normal places I just don’t get why we can do this in the name of transparency,” she said.

“Who needs this information other than the idly curious or the mischievous?”

Cr Barling said the change was “more for the residents and ratepayers that may think this information is hidden”.

“We can demonstrate it’s actually not (hidden) just by having an accountability governance page,” he said.

“I don’t think it actually will change how some residents interact with the City… but it may change the interactions of other residents that don’t currently.”

He found support from Deputy Mayor Matthew Woodall who said it was a “very sensible motion”.

“This information is already available to the public but can often be difficult to find,” he said.

“Given some of the current issues with the inquiry, anything we can do that shows the community that we have nothing to hide is a positive step.”

Councillor Tim Barling’s motion, backed 10-2 at the City’s recent ordinary meeting:

That the Council:

– Requests the chief executive to arrange for the creation of a dedicated governance and accountability page on the City of Melville websites.

– For the page to include information readily available to the public, including, but not limited to: Mayor and councillor sitting fees, allowances and meeting attendances backdated to November 2017; a register of declarations of interest… backdated to November; the online gift and contribution to travel register that already exists on its own dedicated web page; and link to external websites for public information.

-That this matter be referred to an elected member information session prior to being published on the website.

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