OCC TV? Kevin Duffy wants council meetings broadcast live online

STARRING ROLES?: (clockwise from top left) Orange City Councillors John Davis, Russell Turner, Ash Brown and Jason Hamling.

STARRING ROLES?: (clockwise from top left) Orange City Councillors John Davis, Russell Turner, Ash Brown and Jason Hamling.

IN a bid to make Orange City Council meetings more transparent to the public, councillor Kevin Duffy wants to see them broadcast live online.

The bimonthly meetings on the first and third Tuesdays of the month are already open for the public to attend, but Cr Duffy said he wanted anyone to be able to view the meetings or record them from inside the chamber.

“Because then people will be able to say they’ll be watch out for who’s performing for them and who’s not performing for them,” he said.

“Then people will be able to have a record of who said what in the council. It won’t be done and dusted away in the minutes.”

Cr Duffy said the idea followed an incident recently when councillors raised allegations against staff in closed committee and were later cautioned by mayor John Davis via a memo.

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But with closed committee items confidential even with online broadcasts, Cr Duffy said it would still make the open part of the meetings more transparent. 

“It was good [the memo] was in the paper because it shows the shortfall of what’s happening in the process of what we’re doing,” he said.

“We’ve tried to have [live broadcasts] before, I think a lot of them are scared of it because if they say something wrong, they’ll get hounded – if you say something wrong, you get up and apologise straight away or you correct yourself straight away.

“Every time [television stations] come in there, there’s a resolution to allow you to video and there’s never any turned down, so what’s the hassle?”

According to their websites, Bathurst, Dubbo, Blayney and Cabonne councils do not broadcast their meetings, although some have online development application tracking.

Orange City Councillor Kevin Duffy.

Orange City Councillor Kevin Duffy.

Shellharbour City Council on the south coast has broadcast meetings for a number of years and mayor Marianne Saliba said it allowed residents to stay informed even when they could not attend.

“It just makes the meetings more accessible – they can tune in for the section they’re interested in and tune out again and that’s a really good option,” she said.

However, she did not agree with the use of online broadcasts as an accountability measure. 

“Once they’re elected, they’re elected to use their judgement to make good determinations and councillors have to make decisions for the greater good rather than individual needs,” she said.

“The decisions impact council as a whole.”

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