SIX Ballarat City councillors attended media training this month at a cost of $6600.
City of Ballarat chief executive officer Anthony Schinck said the councillors undertook training to equip them with the skills to undertake their public roles.
North Ward councillor Amy Johnson shared her participation in the training in a tweet on February 14: “Media training with @BelindaCoates and Cr John Phillips at #Ballarat Town Hall”.
The council yesterday declined to name the other councillors involved.
Mr Schinck said the role of councillor required individuals to undertake a broad range of public duties.
“Ballarat, like most councils, provides training to councillors so that they can comfortably represent their community and council in public meetings, council meetings, to deliver speeches, meet with ministers and other senior representatives and speak to media outlets,” he said.
“An experienced media trainer was selected after obtaining more than three quotes from local and Melbourne-based training providers.”
Municipal Association of Victoria chief executive officer Rob Spence said media training was a normal practice for councils, particularly those with newly elected councillors.
He said the decision to invest in media training rested with individual councils
“We’d always encourage it,” he said.
“If you’ve never had any experience working with the media it can be a daunting task. You learn how to present your case and how to present effectively.”
He said dealing with the full suite of media – from newspapers to radio and television – was an important skill to have.
Mr Spence said the local media was vital in getting council issues out to the community.
“In Ballarat, it’s a critical relationship with the local media,” he said.
“Clarity of message is really important for community understanding.”