More transparency

Live streaming meetings brings many benefits, including giving residents who are unable or don’t want to attend meetings in person – including those with disabilities or the elderly – the opportunity to watch them from their own homes.

The Mt Barker Council’s decision to begin live streaming meetings is a positive move.
Live streaming meetings brings many benefits, including giving residents who are unable or don’t want to attend meetings in person – including those with disabilities or the elderly – the opportunity to watch them from their own homes.
The Mt Barker Council is not the first Hills local government to adopt live-streaming, with the Adelaide Hills Council making the change during the pandemic.
The move will hopefully mean people tune into council meetings, paving the way for a more engaged community and a more accountable council.
Accountability is important for any level of government and, with councillors seeking re-election in October, live streaming could create an additional level of scrutiny.
By making council meetings more accessible, residents could also become more aware of who their elected members are as well as gain greater insight into the issues before the council – something which could in turn prompt the community to become more engaged and involved in the decisions that affect them.
If live-streaming proves to be effective, perhaps the council could again consider making council meeting recordings publicly available after the meeting.
This would afford even greater transparency, by giving those who are not available to attend or tune in during the meeting – such as shiftworkers – a greater ability to be involved.
Councillors raised concerns during Monday’s meeting about the lack of Parliamentary privilege afforded to them and the potential for defamation action if meeting recordings are made publicly available.
But it is important that councillors, who are elected to serve the community, are held accountable, and they should come prepared, knowing they are going to be under public scrutiny.
Councillors are elected to represent their communities at the level of government closest to them, and anything that encourages greater community involvement in that process can only be a positive thing.