Local Government NSW debate proposal for new ward system

The Local Government NSW Annual Conference has adopted a proposal raised by Dubbo Regional Council to address complaints with the ward system which created confusion for voters in the last local government elections.

Mayor of the Dubbo Region Councillor Ben Shields said during the local government election in 2017 Council and the candidates received numerous complaints from electors that people living inside Dubbo could not vote for their preferred candidate.

“Dubbo Regional Council made a commitment to seek a united approach to this issue to be able to lobby the NSW Government to change the Local Government Act so this situation can be avoided in the future,” Councillor Shields said.

“Today the member Councils of Local Government NSW have supported electoral reform which if implemented would ensure democratic representation from smaller partners in merged Council area without unnecessary confusion and complexity.”

The adopted resolution states:

That Local Government NSW lobby the state government to work with forcibly merged rural and regional councils to develop a model that would allow:

  1. newly merged councils with ward systems to move away from their forced election system of wards and return to their previous election system of a single council area

  2. all merged councils regardless of their electoral model to ensure democratic representation from the smaller merged council partner based on their population as part of the new council area

The model should allow for democratic representation from the smaller merged council partner based on their population as part of the new council area.

Councillor Shields said the current electoral system and the distribution of wards is a flawed system.

“I would like to thank fellow Councillors for presenting a united view on this matter and supporting our push for electoral reform while ensuring democratic representation for smaller population centres in a merged Council,” Councillor Shields said.

Last Edited: 23 Oct 2018

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