I’ve come to the realisation that I need to change my attitude towards social media, such as Facebook, especially now as the Coronavirus crisis deepens.
This has become blindingly obvious after myself and the City staff have worked tirelessly for weeks, put out daily traditional press releases, yet the ‘noise’ on Facebook is: “What’s the Mayor doing about the virus?”
I’ve done a lot and the CEO John Walker does hardly anything else; attending meetings every morning with the other members of the District Leadership Group Taskforce, (which is made up of senior executives from the Departments of Health, Communities, Education, the WA Police, and Local State and Federal Governments) to respond in real time to the ever-changing conditions and determining how Kalgoorlie-Boulder should fit into the latest directives from Canberra and Perth.
It is then deflating when those who only go on social media claim the City Council is doing nothing.
Nothing could be further from the truth, but what I and the City has to change is how we let you, the public, know what is happening.
Every day we have been making sure local facilities fit in with new directives – closing the Oasis, the library, the Goldfields Arts Centre and the Eastern Goldfields Community Centre in Roberts Street, with every decision affecting a lot of good and loyal staff. Opposed to the closures we have upgraded our home-care services and Meals on Wheels deliveries.
At the same time, we have led the way in Western Australia to be the first local government to establish a Coronavirus Fighting Fund, $1million which will help community groups and sporting clubs survive to be around when the crisis ends.
This week I’ve been involved in helping the State encourage fringe dwellers living rough on our streets to get on buses next week to take them back to Warburton and Tjuntjuntjara, where they will be safer. Some have already been flown home this week.
All of that, and some locals are still saying: “What’s the mayor doing?”
Well, clearly I haven’t been communicating to you all that is going on behind the scenes, at least not as far as social media goes.
I’m a traditionalist and despite this epiphany will naturally gravitate to mainstream media such as the Miner, ABC and Triple M. I’ve left GWN off because since they closed their local news room their service here is non-existent.
But as well as maintaining those time-honoured news sources, I am now a convert to the “new” media, so that regardless of how you get your news, you will know that the City and the various Government agencies we are working with are going our best for you.
With the help of our younger and more tech savvy councillors, such as the Deputy Mayor Lisa Malicky, Glenn Wilson and Nardia Turner, I aim to make sure no one in Kalgoorlie-Boulder is in any doubt as to what their Mayor and Council are doing in these times.
An example of that is I will reach out to the controllers and moderators of local social media sites to encourage them to keep open debate going, but to ensure the truth and reason are paramount in any posts. There’s a fine line between freedom of the press, robust debate and maintaining responsible content that does not incite hatred and bigotry.
After all of this there is one other way you can find out what’s going on: simply ask myself or any one of the 12 City councillors. Our emails and phone numbers are published on the City’s website, so if you are in any doubt and want to know, contact us.