WRRA questions timing of review

The City’s elected council was considering electoral reform three years ago, but the suspension of council in November 2012 disrupted the process.

WRRA vice-president Blair Campbell said at that time the State Government was pushing for reduced numbers of elected councillors.

He said of the six options proposed, five were based on the council having eight councillors and an elected mayor, with or without wards.

‘The question must be asked why now, less than three weeks from the due date for submissions to the Local Government Advisory Board and only about six months out from an election, does the City’s administration see the need to complete a process that could result in substantial changes to Canning’s ward boundary and representation number ratios?’ Mr Campbell said. ‘Especially when that process to markedly change the democratic process in the City would be determined by unelected Commissioners.’

Mr Campbell was concerned the City had not provided justification or identified benefits gained from the belated proposal and wanted the review to wait until after the October election.

The Local Government Act requires local governments to carry out the review at least every eight years; it was last completed in 2006.

Canning Community Alliance (CCA) co-ordinator Bill Prince agreed with the WWRA that the review was premature.

‘However, if the City of Canning resolves to proceed with the review, our preferred option is five wards with two councillors per ward and a mayor elected by the people,’ Mr Prince said.

The City currently has four wards.

Canning Commissioner Steven Cole said there was uneven representation of elected members to the number of residents, particularly in the Nicholson ward.

At its March meeting, Council decided to proceed with community consultation, allowing comment on the different proposals.

‘Once that consultation is completed and its results analysed, the City will be in a much better position to consider whether or not it is appropriate to make recommendations that might vary the City’s current ward structure and boundaries,’ Mr Cole said.