In a first for Northern Territory local government, Katherine Town Council has adopted new ‘Orbviz’ technology to better communicate complex reporting to ratepayers.
The Council says the new technology overcomes financial and written literacy barriers.
CEO, Ingrid Stonhill says a recent ratepayer survey identified a sizeable gap in the community’s understanding of Council’s core services, projects, budgets and responsibilites.
“It’s no surprise that while the information people want about how we spend ratepayers’ dollars is available in various ways, including annual reports and on our website, the way it is presented makes it difficult for residents to quickly and easily understand; let’s face it, not everyone loves a spreadsheet,” she said.
“And when residents understand their Council’s responsibilities, priorities and budgets, it’s a win for them and us.
“I saw a presentation on the New Zealand-based Orbviz platform at a recent conference and knew that it would help bridge the information divide here in Katherine.
“Most people are visual learners and, thanks to social media scrolling, have about a 9-second attention span. So, this program presents information about our projects, services and spending in a colourful, visually engaging way that’s fun to explore.”
Orbviz Co-Founder, Karim Sabet said his company has worked with two councils in Southeast Queensland, but Katherine is the first in the Northern Territory.
“The main thing for us is to change how people connect with complex information, typically presented in PDF or static format, making it hard to digest,” Mr Sabet said.
“This leads to loss of interest, lack of transparency and trust. We are on a journey with forward-thinking organisations to change that.”
Mayor, Lis Clark said she was looking forward to residents having a better understanding of Council’s responsibilities and budgets.
“We launch the program through our website today, we have computers and a big screen set up in the library so people can call in and ask staff to show them how to use it,” she said.
View Katherine Town Council’s presentation of the new technology here.