20 July 2016

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Wednesday 20 July 2016

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‘Let there be light’ on decisions Neil Walker neil@baysidenews.com.au


Dream time

CAST members of an Aspect Theatre production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat Carly Daly, left, Bradley Marshall and Graeme Bulluss get set to perform at Parkdale’s Shirley Burke Theatre. See Page 8. Picture: Gary Sissons

A LIGHT could shine on Kingston Council decisions made behind closed doors if a proposal to record confidential meetings between councillors is approved at this month’s council meeting. Councillors at last month’s public council meeting decided to defer a decision on recording in-camera meetings to seek clarity on whether some of these meetings could still go unrecorded at councillors or the mayor’s discretion. In-camera meetings are mostly held in private in the council chamber after public council meetings and allow councillors to discuss matters such as commercial-in-confidence decisions and staff employment contracts. Cr David Eden wants all such meetings to be recorded and made available for public view if a decision is subsequently declared to be non-confidential by council. Kingston Council has led the way on live video streaming of public council meetings. Neighbouring Frankston Council and Mornington Peninsula Shire do not live stream or record the video of council meetings. Audio of meetings can be requested from Frankston Council and Morning-

ton Peninsula Shire uploads meeting audio to its website for download after meetings. At last month’s meeting Cr Eden urged councillors to back his proposal to record all council meetings. Councillor briefing sessions, where council officers and external parties brief councillors, would not be recorded. “It goes to the heart of transparency and more importantly accountability,” Cr Eden said. “It will give some more detail and allow the public access to see inside councillors’ deliberations even though it may have been confidential at the time.” Cr Ron Browlees said he had “nothing to hide” but questioned whether third parties could remain confident that confidential meeting recordings would not be “leaked”. “Things that are said in these meetings should remain private and confidential,” he said. Crs Geoff Gledhill, Paul Peulich and mayor Cr Tamsin Bearsley supported the recording proposal in principle but also voiced concerns about protecting ratepayers’ private opinions and information. Continued Page 4