View council chambers at home

Kiama Mayor Brian Petschler tests the technology. Picture: GEORGIA MATTS

Kiama Mayor Brian Petschler tests the technology. Picture: GEORGIA MATTS

HISTORY will be made on Tuesday, May 20, when Kiama Council goes live for the first time.

Traditionally, if residents wished to attend council meetings they needed to attend on-site in the council chambers.

Now, an ongoing project will make Kiama the first council in Australia to deliver council meetings via video conferencing and the NBN.

As the council moves a variety of services online, it has opted to implement the live streaming of council meetings to enable the community to view them online.

During the next two months, the council will implement live webcasting for the community to view meetings online and enable remote public access.

The project will make Kiama the first council in Australia to deliver public access meetings via video conferencing and the NBN.

The community can access both projects via the council website using a smart phone, smart device, PC or laptop.

After a pilot run (not broadcast publicly) at the council's April meeting, executive assistants and communications staff will be trained to use the live streaming system, ready for launch at the May 20 meeting.

The second stage of the project includes live public access, which will begin in July.

"This initiative marks a significant step in the way local government utilises digital technology and the NBN to engage the community, and offers the community an interactive and truly high-definition viewing experience," Kiama Mayor Brian Petschler said.

"Traditionally, residents wishing to participate in council meetings had to attend on-site. Now they can become active citizens through digital technology."

A recording of the council meeting will be stored and accessible to the community via Kiama Council's website.

At its April meeting, the council endorsed Kiama Connect: Phase 3, which involves the installation of a webcasting and video conferencing solution that enables the community to view meetings online.

As the council nears the end of the NBN Digital Local Government Project, the final stage of the project was to deliver council meetings online.

The project's final stage, called Kiama Connect: Phase 3, involves the installation, implementation and integration of a live streaming and video conferencing portal.

"The delivery of this project will also enable the council to upgrade the current audio visual system in the council chambers," the council report said.

"Upgrading the chamber's AV equipment, which is seven years old, will ensure compatibility and reliability with the new system and ensure better quality delivery for both council meetings, live streaming and online interactive video conferencing."

Implementation of this final phase has been approved by the federal Department of Communications and will be funded through the Digital Local Government Project and the council's existing IT budget.

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