City urged to move with times

City urged to move with times

The council also decided to maintain its 5.30pm regular start time for meetings, despite calls from ratepayers to host it an hour later so more people could attend.

At a special electors’ meeting on May 19, residents called for greater transparency and accessibility to council matters and supported motions for live streaming or recording of meetings.

The City of Bunbury, City of Joondalup and City of Greater Geraldton all stream live their council meetings on the internet, while several more councils provide recordings.

None has yet to encounter any sort of legal action as a result of the streaming or recordings.

Hazelmere resident Peter Graham said the council could not claim openness and then restrict access to information.

‘I would like to think that the many councillors got involved in local government for the right reasons and work hard to represent their local communities,’ he said.

‘Unfortunately, because of the way meetings are run and the confusion over processes, this is not immediately evident to ratepayers.’

‘Those attending meetings, asking questions and giving deputations often leave feeling ignored, humiliated and angry,’ he said.

While recorded or webcast meetings appear off the table ” for now ” Councillor Mark Elliott has introduced a notice of motion to form a committee of interested councillors, City staff and ratepayers to determine where improvements in communication could be made.

The City of Swan is one of the few remaining local governments not to engage with residents via social media but the council plans to move with the times soon.

Councillor Mel Congerton said he disputed claims that the council was not open and transparent.

‘We are the most open form of government,’ he said.

‘I can’t remember the last time you could walk into State Parliament and make a deputation, but here you can.’

‘One of the great values of our system is that people can speak without the fear of later on being sued for something said in the heat of the moment.’

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