Councillor and Ward Restructure 2023
2022 LOCAL GOVERNMENT REFORM REQUIREMENTS
On 20 September 2022 the Minister for Local Government released an instruction to all Western Australian local governments relating to proposed amendments to the Local Government Act 1995 expected to be considered by Parliament in early 2023. The new requirements to be introduced include a directly elected Shire President, and Councillor numbers reduced to between four (minimum) and eight (maximum) Councillors plus the directly elected Shire President. The instruction has triggered the need for the Shire of Manjimup to undertake a Ward and Representation Review and the Discussion Paper appended is the document used to consult with the community.
The Ward and Representation Review Discussion Paper was open for public consultation for a period of six weeks concluding at 5pm on 9 December 2022.
EXISTING COUNCIL STRUCTURE
Council currently comprises eleven Councillors and has a Ward based structure made up of the Central Ward (five Councillors), North Ward (one Councillor), East Ward (one Councillor), West Ward (two Councillors), Coastal Ward (one Councillor) and South Ward (one Councillor). Each Ward is based on a number of localities comprising the district. The Shire President is elected by Councillors for a two year term after Council elections every two years. Each Councillor is elected for a four year term with half of the Councillor terms being due for expiry every two years.
PROPOSED COUNCIL STRUCTURE
Council have elected to adopt a two ward system, the wards will be Urban Ward and Rural Ward. Each ward will have four councillors. In additiion to the eight councillors there will be a directly elected Shire President. The proposed ward boundaries will be close to the current Central Ward becoming the Urban Ward and the remaining wards becoming the Rural Ward.
REPRESENTATION REQUIREMENTS FOR WARD STRUCTURES
If a Council structure is operated using a Ward based system, there is a requirement for each Councillor that forms part of a Ward to represent an average number of electors plus or minus 10%. Deviations beyond 10% are generally not supported.
WHERE TO FROM HERE
After the submission period closed Council consided a Ward and Representation Review Report at the Council meeting on 19 January 2023, where, based on the community consultation, Council elected to adopt a two ward system with eight councillors plus a directly elected Shire President. The Shire of Manjimup then notified its decision to the State Government. The State Government has approved the direction taken by Council and the changes will come into effect for the October 2023 election.