Media Release - Katherine Town Council launches innovative reporting tool

Published on Monday, 16 October 2023 at 12:03:29 PM

In a Territory first, Katherine Town Council has adopted new technology, called Orbviz, to communicate complex reporting to its constituents, in a simple and entertaining way that overcomes financial and written literacy barriers.

Council CEO, Ingrid Stonhill, said a recent ratepayer survey identified a huge gap in the community’s understanding of Council’s core services, projects, budgets and responsibilities.

“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.

“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 is 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.”

To view Katherine Town Council’s presentation, click here – Please view via laptop, computer or big screen. The imminent launch of a mobile phone view is coming.

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