Mayor welcomes mandatory webcasting of meetings

Mayor of the Dubbo Region Ben Shields has welcomed a decision by NSW Local Government Minister Gabrielle Upton to make webcasting of council meetings mandatory.

Ms Upton announced on Friday that within 12 months all NSW Councils would be required to webcast their meetings as part of a new Model Code of Meeting Practice, something Dubbo Regional Council started doing in February this year.

“It’s fantastic to see the Minister is thinking along the same lines as Dubbo Regional Council, that making streaming available is fantastic for transparency and getting the community involved in local government,” Councillor Shields said.

“This was one of the first resolutions passed by Dubbo Regional Council, and that was thanks to the lobbying efforts of Councillor Dayne Gumley.”

Since webcasting started at the February 2018 meeting of Council, it has enabled more people than ever to watch meetings. There have been a total of 1304 live views, with 1064 archived playbacks for the February to October meetings.

“I have been surprised by how many people tune in. One month we had 335 people tune in live. The gallery at meetings normally has less than 50 people so we are ensuring hundreds more people get involved with the democratic process and that can only be a good thing,” Councillor Shields said.

“With such a large region and some ratepayers required to travel a long way to get to Council, as far as 110 kilometres for those who live at Euchareena, webcasting saves people from having to make that trip to know what is happening at meetings.”

The code of practice is designed to provide a uniform set of rules for all NSW Councils, and other changes include a five-minute limit on Councillor speeches, uniform rules of debate and limits on Mayoral Minutes.

Council already holds public forum prior to each meeting and also holds pre-meeting briefings for Councillors, two suggestions made in the code of practice.

“Council already adheres to the new rules and already does many of the recommendations including pre-meeting briefings for Councillors,” Councillor Shields said.

“I am pleased to see we already meet the standards the government has set out. We made it clear after being elected last year that we wanted to be a transparent, cohesive Council and now other Councils will follow in our footsteps.”

View the live stream and archive of previous Council meetings

Last Edited: 20 Nov 2018

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