BY CHRISTOPHER HARRIS
It has taken years, but the City of Sydney has leaped into the 21st Century, according to one Councillor.
The City voted on Monday night to a twelve month trial of webcasting the monthly council meeting, a practice which has been adopted around the world, but not at the City of Sydney, whose mantra is “Global and Connected”
Independent Councillor Angela Vithoulkas said it was monumental that this policy had been adopted, after years of it being continually voted down.
“I think it is momentous that an item that has been voted down in chambers finally got the ability to be heard and supported,” she told City Hub
“Accountability and transparency is the most vital part of any government process. It was a good day yesterday to know that people can see council is moving forward into the 21st Century,” she said.
The trial will proceed on the basis that it is practical and the infrastructure needed to set up the webcasting does not prove disproportionately expensive.
The change in policy for the council followed Greens Councillor Irene Doutney being promoted to Deputy Mayor, following the death of Robyn Kemmis of the Clover Moore Independents Party late last year.
She said she supported transparency in government and that’s why she voted in favour of the motion.
Long time campaigner for webcasting, Edward Mandla said that webcasting would bring democracy to the council.
“There is no minute taking in Council meetings and it allows the highly secretive City of Sydney to shields itself at every turn effectively delivering “Democracy in the Dark”,” Clr Mandla said.
Cr Mandla told City Hub that he did not accept arguments that webcasting was difficult and problematic.
“The Lord Mayor calls us “Global and Connected” but we can’t do what a teenager can do in their bedroom, that is organise a webcast.”
“Soon constituents will no longer have to leave work and their families to sit in endless Council meetings.
Finally, they can see their elected representatives in action during Council proceedings at any time from the comfort of their own laptop or mobile device.“
“What better way to help achieve these values than to make council proceedings widely available through a technology it seems everyone else can offer but us,” Clr Mandla said.