Baw Baw councillors have approved the live streaming and archiving of their public meetings.
Image: The Baw Baw Bunch. Photography and recording of any kind have not been allowed in meetings until now, but this 2016 swearing in ceremony was an exception. Photos: William PJ Kulich.
Streaming is expected to begin in October 2017.
Purchase and installation of cameras in the Trafalgar chambers, where meetings are being held due to the West Gippsland Arts Centre’s redevelopment, is expected to cost around $11,000, with ongoing fees for streaming and archiving costing $1,260 per month.
Speaking to the Baw Baw Citizen on Thursday, mayor Joe Gauci said the move had “100 per cent support” of councillors and that he hoped the change would improve community understanding of the decision making process.
“It’s more about a transparency situation and about the community being able to see the debate,” Cr Gauci said.
“They think the decision is made and everybody agrees and that’s the way it’s done.
“It’ll be really good for the community to be able to see the actual debate that goes on, and unless you’re in chambers and listening in-place you don’t see that.”
Cr Gauci said meetings being held in Trafalgar, 20 minutes away from the old council home of Warragul, was not a push factor in the decision.
“This has been in conversation even through the period when we were in Warragul,” he said.
While we’re talking about meetings in Warragul, this was Cr Gauci’s reply when asked if new permanent chambers will have cameras built in from the start:
“That would be my assumption as well, but considering we haven’t decided where the new chamber’s going to go we’ll have to work through that process,” Cr Gauci said.
“Once we formalise this and get the process in place, I don’t think it’s going to be something that will go away.
“It has been very successful in Wellington (Shire) and a lot of other [councils] where they also have isolated areas, so I think that once it’s in play it will stay.”
This story also appeared in today’s Baw Baw In 90 Seconds. Click here or hit play below to watch the full bulletin.