Camden Council's live stream plan in limbo

Camden Council will investigate the possibility of live-streaming its ordinary council meetings.

Councillor Paul Farrow put forward a notice of motion last week asking the council to live-stream meetings, which was amended after lengthy debate.

The amended notice asked council officers to “investigate live streaming of council meetings including consideration of positives and negatives and any matters concerning policy, procedure, legal implications and costs and report back to council for its consideration”.

Cr Farrow said he was glad the notice raised some awareness and started the conversation about implementing live-streaming technology.

“Not everyone can get to council meetings and there may be issues they are interested in but they don’t see the debate that occurs,” he said. “Debate and amendments are not reflected in the meeting minutes.”

All councillors voted in favour of the motion except for councillor Rob Mills.

Cr Farrow said he was glad most councillors were open to the idea.

“I don’t think it would be a an overly expensive exercise, there is a lot of technology in the chamber already,” he said. “We’re elected to represent the community and people will be able to see that we are doing that.”

Wollondilly Council has already started live-streaming council meetings. 

Wollondilly Council’s general manager Luke Johnson said webcasting council meetings was an excellent way to enhance access to the democratic decision-making process.

“Local government has a very broad range of responsibilities and makes decisions that can affect the whole community,” he said.

Campbelltown Council is also investigating the feasibility of live-streaming ordinary council meetings.

Camden mayor Lara Symkowiak said she wanted councillors to have all of the necessary information before voting on live-streaming meetings.

“Some councils live stream, some don’t and some have started and stopped so I want it investigated as to what it means for councillors and staff,” she said. “I am supportive of the principle of people seeing what happens at meetings but I would like more information.”

Cr Symkowiak said the amount of people who would watch and the cost of installation were not the only considerations.

“The main issue for me is the filming of staff and how they will feel being put on the spot,” she said. “I also wouldn’t want to gag the debate.”

Cr Symkowiak said she could see the benefits but wanted all of the issues investigated before council made a decision.