Hawkesbury Council to further examine podcasting of meetings

HAWKESBURY Council will consider podcasting their meetings, so people who cannot make the meetings can keep abreast of Council business.

Would you listen to a podcast, live or otherwise, of a Hawkesbury Council meeting? Let us know, by taking part in our poll below.

Hawkesbury councillor Paul Rasmussen’s quest to have Council meetings live streamed will likely not go ahead, with Council staff saying the cost is simply too expensive.

Cr Rasmussen wants to live stream meetings to increase the transparency of Council decisions, while also giving people an option of watching the meetings from home.

However, a Council report noted that live streaming meetings would be very expensive.

The report did also note that podcasting could be a much cheaper option.

A podcast is an audio recording, which rather than being played across radio waves or through a cd, is downloaded from the internet in digital form.

Council’s Emma Galea said during the March 14 meeting that podcasting the meetings was possible, but it would also require spending money to upgrade the sound system.

Council does currently record meetings, however, Ms Galea said this was done with an analog system.

Cr Rasmussen said he was not as enthusiastic about the idea of podcasting, because podcasts were not immediate, describing them as “catch up audio”.

Cr Nathan Zamprogno said he was excited by the idea of releasing the meeting as a podcast.

“It will send a strong message that we are open, accountable and are digitally savvy and we can think of new ways to engage our citizenry,” he said.

Cr Tiffany Tree said she was worried about the potential for defamation, and asked whether it would be possible for councillors to “opt out” of being recorded.

Cr Zamprogno said councillors were aware when they took on the job that things they said would be scrutinised.

“We are publically elected officials, we accepted that when we took on this job and that things we say can be quoted,” he said.

“People can already access recordings of what we say.

“We attended a meet the candidates forum before the election which was live streamed on Facebook so people who couldn't make it could see it.

“I don't think we should be scared of it.”

Live streaming meetings has long been on Cr Rasmussen’s agenda.

“Local democracy will be greatly enhanced in my book. There is so much out there where various groups are trying to stifle democracy and free speech and I think that is insidious,” he said.

Would you listen to a podcast, live or otherwise, of a Hawkesbury Council meeting?