Warrnambool City Council votes down recording motion

Answer's still 'no'

LIKE a record player stuck in a groove, Warrnambool City councillors last night repeated the same debate with the same result rejecting a push for live streaming of council meetings.

Cr Peter Hulin failed again in his campaign which he began after being first elected in 2008. But he vowed to continue raising it as a notice of motion every three months until successful.

"It's my right," he said while lamenting the 3-4 voting result.

His notice of motion put to last night's meeting was for the taping and live streaming of all open council meetings "in the interests of ensuring the accuracy of council minutes and the transparency of council decisions".

The motion also called for audio taping of confidential meetings which would be kept in secure storage for at least 10 years.

It gained support from councillors Peter Sycopoulis and Brian Kelson, who also backed the push twice last year, but was again rejected by mayor Michael Neoh, and councillors Kylie Gaston, Jacinta Ermacora and Rob Askew.

There was a faint glimmer of hope when Cr Gaston put forward a compromise motion to introduce audio-only recording of open council meetings from May 19.

However, it lapsed for want of a seconder.

"I want this issue resolved once and for all and for it to stop being a distraction," she said.

"I appeal for councillors to move on. Council meetings are not for entertainment, they are for decision making."

She said audio-only was used by Moyne Shire and the City of Melbourne at a fraction of the cost of live streaming.

Cr Hulin predicted live streaming would be mandatory statewide and cited Dandenong City where he said more than 1000 people watched live-streamed debates.

"We need to fix up the present problem, we need clear and accurate records," he said.

Cr Hulin referred to a code of conduct case against him which was dismissed last year.

"Live streaming would have cleared it up at a fraction of the cost to the community and yet we spend tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees," Cr Hulin said.

He said people wanted to know who said what and why.

Cr Kelson said the elderly, disabled and ex-pat ratepayers deserved to be able to follow council meeting proceedings.

"I have nothing to hide, I'm ready for it," he said.

Cr Sycopoulis said to refuse live streaming was a form of discrimination against people unable to attend meetings.

Councillors Ermacora and Askew said their views hadn't changed on the issue and they were satisfied with current written records.

"I've had people contact me and ask me not to vote for live streaming," Cr Askew said.

Cr Neoh said the council was an open and honest team.

"It is disappointing people don't respect the collective decisions of council," he said.

pcollins@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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