IN mid-2019, the Office of Local Government (OLG) directed all councils to record meetings to provide better transparency for the public to be informed.
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The choice of video or audio only was left to individual councils.
Oberon councillors preferred audio only recordings, in spite of community submissions pushing for video, citing what I believe are dubious reasons: so council could edit and remove inadvertent comments revealing confidential matters.
Recordings must be fit for purpose. They were to be tested prior to December 2019, with council's general manager Gary Wallace delegating this task to the director of community services. Every council in NSW had six months to implement.
The audio recording from the February meeting is actually worse than the first attempt in December.
The background noise from last minute shuffling of business papers is so overpowering that it makes listening downright painful. Keyboard hacking, mouse clicking and chair shuffling adds to the experience. Dealing with overmodulation and distortion seems beyond the council's skillset.
It appears the council is trying to ignore the OLG and ignore residents.
Lithgow's live stream video is clear and certainly adequate since at least June 2019.
Many councils in the Central NSW Joint Organisation provide a fit-for-purpose video streaming of their meetings.
Bathurst, Blayney, Cabonne, Cowra and Forbes have quality video streaming; Lachlan, Parkes and Oberon have audio only.
The Lachlan and Parkes audio are clear and of acceptable audio quality.
Oberon's audio-only system is not fit for purpose. Our council stands out among its peers with what I see as its incompetence and disrespect for its residents and ratepayers.
Council's lack of concern for transparency, contrary to its own verbal claims aplenty, and for its obligation to keep the electorate informed, is on record for all to see.
What point is there to set a deadline if no-one actually cares?
Audio testing by December 2019 - not done successfully.
The general manager and director failed the OLG directive.
Admitting defeat is hard for this council; never wrong, never apologising, quickly blame-shifting.
Residents need video recordings which are fit for purpose, not mediocrity.
Greg Evans, secretary, Oberon Shire Residents and Ratepayers Association Inc.
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