Whittlesea residents could be given the opportunity to watch council meetings from the comfort of their own home, with councillors set to investigate live streaming meetings.
At their June 27 meeting, councillors asked officers to prepare a report detailing the effectiveness, costs and risks associated with broadcasting meetings. Thirteen of Victoria’s 79 councils already live stream their meetings.
Cr Emilia Lisa Sterjova, who is leading the push, said she believed live streaming would increase community participation and make the council’s decision-making process more transparent.
“[Residents] will be able to see councillors debating motions live from home. They can be in their pyjamas if they like,” she said.
While councillors unanimously agreed to investigate the pros and cons of live streaming, many said they had reservations about broadcasting meetings online.
Cr Mary Lalios said she was concerned by the risks associated with live streaming, such as defamation, infringement of copyright, breach of privacy and the publishing of offensive materials. She asked officers to ensure the risks were considered as part of the report.
Mayor Ricky Kirkham said that while he supported transparency, he too was concerned about the risks, adding that he felt it would open “Pandora’s box”.
Cr Norm Kelly said he did not want recent “disgraceful” behaviour to be broadcast.
“I would only hope that people would have the respect that hasn’t happened in the last few months,” Cr Kelly said.