Glen Innes Severn Council to livestream meetings

General manager Hein Basson says it will cost council about $30,000 to start livestreaming council meetings as required by law.
General manager Hein Basson says it will cost council about $30,000 to start livestreaming council meetings as required by law.

Last year's debate about livestreaming council meetings is over as a new state law makes broadcasting a legal obligation.

Glen Innes Severn Council has between six and 12 months to implement a new code of meeting practice  enshrined in changes to the Local Government Act passed by State Parliament last year.

General Manager Hein Basson is not sure how many people will actually watch.

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"I think it'll be interesting to see what the uptake will be," he said. "If members of the public are not attending council meetings will they sit at home and watch council meetings instead of a TV program or a YouTube video?"

In July council voted to spend the $30,000 it had budgeted to livestream council meetings on youth projects instead.

A motion in October reversing that decision failed four votes to three, but council later resolved to"investigate the design, functionality and full costing for the live streaming of council meetings".

Mr Basson estimated livestreaming would still cost around $30,000 for the equipment depending on the specific model councillors chose to adopt, plus any ongoing cost of operation.

He said he assumed the council would be obligated to broadcast both vision and sound, though state government has yet to release a clarifying guidelines document. His interpretation of the new law is that they would have to broadcast vision.

It's also unclear as to whether council will be obligated to keep recordings forever, or if they would be deleted after a period of time.

"When it was only recorded by the old-fashioned tape recorder, once the minutes had been approved the recording was deleted," he said. "The question then arises, are you going to keep all your council meetings on YouTube or are you going to delete it once the minutes have been approved."

Mr Basson said he expects to have a range of models for approval by council by February or March. 

The new law will only apply to council’s ordinary monthly meetings.