Push for live streaming City of Rockingham council meetings rejected

Council Chambers
Council Chambers

A PROPOSAL to live stream council meeting failed to gain majority support from City of Rockingham councillors at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Councillors voted 6:3 in favour of an officer’s recommendation not to support live steaming.

A council report found the costs, time and resourcing required to implement live streaming did not justify the perceived benefits.

The estimated cost for live streaming council meetings was $84,500.

The report said live streaming council meetings might address a “perceived lack of transparency and accessibility to local government decision making.”

“There also appears to be a growing expectation from elements of the community that local government information be easily accessible and available quickly.”

However, the report said council already provided agendas, attachments, bulletins and minutes on the City’s websites. Residents can access the meeting agenda and minutes through RockPort.

The report said councillors would not be protected from defamation action by absolute privilege, and may feel constrained in their approach to debate and decision-making.

“Comments by members of the public during public question time may result in the local government being liable in defamation,” the report said.

Councillor Katherine Summers said she was against live streaming because it may result in councillors grandstanding for political gain.

She said councillors might change and be “fake” if council meetings were televised.

Councillor Deb Hamlin said live streaming was not value for money.