Why livestreamed council meetings would be a good thing

THERE’S a new reality show about to hit out screens.

There will be drama, discord and high-stakes decisions, all played out in real time.

It’s Tamworth Regional Council’s livestreamed ordinary meetings.

We’re definitely not overplaying it, this will be thrilling stuff.

Yes, some might think the adjective “ordinary” is quite apt when it comes to describing the action in the chambers, but it takes a sharp mind to find excitement in mundane things.

The push to livestream council meetings is extraordinary.

Governments are routinely accused of not being transparent and disconnected from their constituents.

This move puts council’s decision-making into the laps of anyone who wants it.

Before you change the channel and say council’s decisions are humdrum and, perhaps, ordinary, we know local government motions can get readers riled and rancorous in a way no other decision can.

You don’t have to look very far for evidence.

The $4.5 million Fitzroy St revamp caused an almighty stir.

When trips abroad are booked, you can count on a few folks getting their hackles up in the comment section.

Ironically, the installation of “traffic calming measures” got the public a bit irritated.

Public art can get people miffed and street logistics for the country music festival might have hit a bum note with a few folks.

Conversely, we saw last week how council can step in for the community when it saved the West Tamworth train station from certain extinction.

Council nixing a development application, like it did to save the West Tamworth train station, is rare.

Council has looked into livestreaming before and found it could cost up to $170,000.

It’s a big investment, but it’s a worthwhile one even if there aren’t record-breaking ratings.

Transparency in decision making is the top priority laid down by the state government when it comes to local council meeting principles.

While Tamworth mayor Col Murray was definitely right to say residents won’t be skipping their favourite shows to tune-in to the meeting, having the option there would be akin to council putting a vote of confidence in itself and its decision-making.


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