In a social media announcement Eurobodalla Councillor Anthony Mayne has launched what he is calling "Back to the Future!" Earlier this year (June 11th, 2019), under a stream of community protest, Mayor Liz Innes and her cohort of Councillors' Jack Tait, James Thomson, Lindsay Brown, Maureen Nathan, Phil Constable and Rob Pollock OAM voted to remove the live streaming of Public Forum, its recording and its archiving. Both Councillors Anthony Mayne and Pat McGinlay supported the protests that removal of Public Forum would be a dark day for the council in terms of public inclusion in the democratic process. It was reported in the Bay Post the following day that:
Councillor Pat McGinlay said the new draft added barriers for the public to interact with council, and proposed several amendments.
Cr Anthony Mayne said webcasting public forum enhanced public engagement for housebound people, those with disabilities and the media who could not attend, and said removing it was a backward step.
"Public Forums used to be lived streamed - why!!! Well, it helps engagement and transparency. The community listened and watched as their fellow community members presented and answered questions from their Councillors." writes the councillor.
"Who else used to watch - well, the #Media, including 2EC, ABC South East NSW, Braidwood Bugle, The Beagle, About Regional, Bay Post / Moruya Examiner. Those at home - the elderly, the disabled, the house bound. We have one of the oldest demographics in #NSW. The list goes on......"
"But now you can't watch - Instead you get the person's presentation posted on the Council website. Now there is #Engagement for you! In contemporary social media this is as Passive as you get."
Councillor Mayne adds "Oh and as for Public Access, it is held before our Council briefings once a month instead of fortnightly; if anyone should show."
"Clearly this change has made a significant difference to public engagement - the public we are meant to represent. Time to switch back on the cameras. "A couple of us [McGinlay and Mayne] voted No to the motion to turn off the cameras. Hopefully some of my fellow Councillors have seen the negative impact this has had on #engagement with our community."
Vote Yes to turn on the cameras.
I am looking to put this back on the agenda for a vote and would welcome any thoughts". Councillor Mayne invites comment and thoughts on reinstating Public Forum. You can contact him on 0429 980 818 or email email@example.com
Above: Councillor Anthony Mayne to put forward a Notice of Motion to reinstate the live streaming of Public Forum, to reinstate the session times of Public Forum and Public Access and to "Turn the cameras back on and open the doors at Eurobodalla Shire Council."