THE BASS Shire Coast Council has been dragged kicking and screaming to finally introduce livestreaming for its monthly council meetings.
But it has little to do with the fact that as many as 44 per cent of its home-owning ratepayers live outside the shire, unable to attend meetings.
Embracing the latest in communications technology, as has been the case for many others lately, was the result of the coronavirus pandemic.
It should however please a local campaigner for livestreaming, John Trigt, who penned another letter to council last week, read out by the Mayor Cr Brett Tessari last Wednesday.
“When will the Bass Coast Council come out of the dark ages and install live streaming for council meetings, will Bass Coast join the 21st century technology?”
They have. Councillors voted unanimously, in the absence of Crs Le Serve and Rothfield, to bring it in at the May meeting, after a test run at last week’s meeting.
The livestreaming will initially be for a six-month trial.
It will include voice-to-text closed captions when the video is published along with the minutes.
As council explained government directions on social distancing limit the ability of the public to attend meetings in person.
Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Brett Tessari, said livestreaming will mean the community can continue to access it meetings in real time.
“This is an especially important step for our community in the current circumstances, which limit the ability for people to attend our meetings in person,” Cr Tessari said.
“Once livestreaming is up and running, anyone who finds it difficult to attend meetings, or lives outside of the shire will be able to tune in.”
The livestream will be accessible from Council’s website and a captioned version of the video will be published on Council’s website and YouTube channel following the meeting.
“Livestreaming is currently being provided by other Victorian councils and is seen as a positive step towards greater transparency and encouraging community engagement in civic processes.”
That’s what they’re saying now but some councillors have previously feared the scrutiny that livestreaming would involve, putting their statements, warts and all, on the public record in perpetuity,,, during an election year no less.