Gosnells council votes in favour of retaining one-ward local government system

Gosnells council votes in favour of retaining one-ward local government system

THERE was a strong majority among Gosnells councillors for the City to remain a one-ward system.

The debate at last week’s council meeting was originally sparked after a petition was presented to councillors last year.

Currently, residents in the City of Gosnells area elect 12 councillors who then vote for the mayor, but the 12 are elected from anywhere within the area and not to a certain ward.

Only five metropolitan local governments have the single ward system, including Gosnells which has by far the largest number of electors with just under 64,000; next biggest being Kwinana at 17,000.

A report prepared by the City and presented to councillors detailed the advantages and disadvantages of the multi-ward system at .

Councillor Glenn Dewhurst brought forward an amendment during the discussion that council should remain a single ward system and that this position forms the basis of any public consultation undertaken in relation to wards.

The amendment was carried 8-4; councillors Bill Wiffen Terry Healy, Pierre Yang and Mayor Olwen Searle voted against the motion.

However, the acceptance of the amendment does not mean a final decision has been made on wards, but does show the councillors; support for the single ward system.

According to WA Legislation on the subdivision of local governments, The Governor, on the recommendation of the Local Governments Minister, may divide local government areas into wards or amend ward boundaries.

Positive features for single ward

– Promotes the concept of a whole-of-City focus, with councillors being elected by and concerned for the local government as a whole, rather than parochial interests.

– Gives residents and ratepayers a choice of councillors to approach with their concerns.

– Results in a simple, less expensive voters’ roll for elections compared with separate voters’ rolls for individual wards.

– Councillors can use their speciality skills and knowledge for the benefit of the whole community.

Positive features for multi ward

– Councillors are more likely to be truly local representatives, easily accessible to residents and aware of local issues.

– Councillors may share workloads more effectively.

– Major geographical communities of interest are likely to be represented (such as a sizeable town or group of suburbs) in a ward.

– Cost effective and easier for candidates to canvass only within their prospective ward, rather than the whole local government area.