Editorial: When a 21st century council just clicks

Would you be more inclined to tune in to a council meeting if it were streamed on the internet?

What if you could play it back a couple of days after, or skip to a certain debate you’re interested in? 

There is no doubt people are interested in what happens at their local monthly council meetings.

The discussions held and decisions made in those hallowed chambers can affect us all.

But in between home and work commitments, it’s almost impossible for many to get to the meetings.

There is also no doubt Tribune readers appreciate the times and places we have livestreamed events they could not otherwise have seen or attended.

Yass Valley is one of the few NSW councils to not broadcast meetings by audio or video streaming.

In the Southern Tablelands, Goulburn Mulwaree Council offers a fortnightly webcast; and Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council is also in on the livestreaming act, especially useful to those in that area’s far-flung reaches.

For viewers who still struggle with the meeting timing, or – just as likely – internet connectivity, the video can be seen on demand, post-meeting.

These public meetings can still move into a closed chamber, as and when needed, by switching off the broadcast in order to cover any legal concerns.

Do some ‘play’ to the camera? Possibly, but not likely any more than they already played to the chamber.

Back in April, councillor Nathan Furry was leading the charge for Yass Valley to join the 21st century by livestreaming.

Cr Furry said it would not be difficult to find a low-cost solution for both livestream and playback.

At the time, he said his online community poll garnered 70 per cent support for an audio-visual livestream.

The Tribune recalls the council suggested it would take consultants about six months to prepare a study.

That would be due about now.

Local government transparency through clear communication is fundamental to democracy, as well as good governance in a publicly funded organisation.

Our community would like to know it is being heard, so hopefully our council is listening.