EVER wondered what went on at a Lake Macquarie City Council meeting? How a particular decision was arrived at? And who said what in the heat of a debate?
From tonight (February 11), people everywhere will be able to see for themselves when the council begins to live stream its meetings on the internet.
The change is required under the state government’s new Model Code of Meeting Practice for local councils announced in November by Local Government Minister Gabrielle Upton.
“If it’s good enough for federal and state MPs to go live to the nation, then there is no reason why local councillors should be exempt,” Ms Upton said.
The council meetings will be broadcast live online, with the recordings available for download the following day, a spokesperson for the council said.
Footage will be available from council’s website for three months after each meeting.
Mayor Kay Fraser said the live streaming would encourage further engagement with residents and improve accessibility for people who could not attend council meetings.
“We want our community to become more involved with council meetings and the decisions we make, and let people know they’re welcome to attend in person or watch online,” Cr Fraser said.
“It demonstrates council’s open and transparent approach and continued commitment to community engagement and input into council decisions.”
Councillors and key staff were briefed last week on the implications of having meetings live streamed.
“The mayor will advise councillors and members of the public of the implications of webcasting at the start of each meeting,” a council spokesperson said.
Signs around the council chambers remind the public that the meetings are webcast.
Three fixed cameras have been installed in the council chambers to film proceedings.
“This will allow the webcast display to include all councillors and the mayor, as well as the minutes that are taken during the meeting,” the spokesperson said.
“Minutes of the meetings will continue to be available to the public from council’s website as the official records of council meetings.”
Council staff sought advice from several organisations, including other councils, to assist with the selection of webcasting hardware and software, procedures to meet legislative requirements, and training requirements for staff and councillors.
“Most lessons highlighted by other organisations were technical in nature, such as how to configure software, test webcasting systems, and optimise audio quality.”
Central Coast Council already live streams its meetings.
Lake Macquarie City Council meetings are held twice a month in the council chambers at Main Road, Speers Point, from 6.30pm.
Agendas are available online on the Tuesday before each meeting.
Watch the first live video stream from 6.30pm on Monday, February 11, on the council website at lakemac.com.au.
See what items are listed for discussion at the first Standing Committee meeting for 2019.