ABE Public Forum Presentation Regarding MR22/001 Live-Streaming of Public Forum
Good morning. Thank you for the opportunity to address Council this morning regarding MR22/001 Live-stream of Public Forum.
I am presenting as Co-Convenor of A Better Eurobodalla (ABE), a community forum dedicated to having open and inclusive government in our region.
ABE expects that before governments, at any level, make decisions that will impact their communities, they will undertake broad and meaningful consultation, listen to and share expert advice, and proceed using a transparent decision-making process so that the community understands who makes decisions, when and why.
ABE has applied these principles to MR22/001, which leads it to support the motion before Councillors today.
ABE was aware of widespread community disappointment when the previous Council discontinued live-streaming of Public Forum and Public Access in June 2019, and raised concerns regarding this retrograde step in presentations to Council on the 20th April 2021 and the 2nd February 2021. Both of these presentations are available on the ABE website (https://abettereurobodalla.org/recent-postings/page/2/).
ABE noted that, as well as being important for effective and responsive project management, community consultation is a vital component of good governance in the institutional and political context. ABE stated:
So, it is disappointing that Council has removed live streaming of the Public Forum element of its fortnightly meetings. Streaming of the Public Forum provides a valuable opportunity for community members to communicate directly with Councillors and the broader community.
ABE is gratified to see that this misstep by the previous Council can be rectified by our new Councillors.
In the light of the valuable community consultation role provided by the Public Access and Public Forum sessions, ABE welcomes Mayoral Report 22/001.
ABE strongly supports this first motion before our new Council to amend Council’s Code of Meeting Practice to allow live-streaming of both Public Forum and Public Access sessions, as well as prominent notice of both these sessions and Council meeting agendas on the Council website and social media.
MR22/001 presents a valuable opportunity for our new Councillors to translate election promises into concrete action, and ABE commends the motion, trusting it will receive the overwhelming support of our newly elected Councillors.
Thank you for your attention,
Dr Brett Stevenson
A Better Eurobodalla