Compulsory voting call

Mr Robson said it was a concern that the number of people engaged in the City of Perth elections this year was at its lowest levels since 1995.

‘It is particularly concerning at this time too when there is a lot of discussion about local government,’ he said.

Since 1995, when Perth and Vincent split, the number of people voting in Perth elections has constantly dropped from 66 per cent.

Mr Robson said one of the key recommendations of the Metropolitan Local Government Review was to make local government voting compulsory to align its status to that of state and federal politics.

‘We are downplaying it as a form of government if we don’t have compulsory voting,’ he said.

Voting at local government elections is compulsory in all states except South Australia, Tasmania and WA.

Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said to have to encourage people to vote was an anomaly in the process.

‘It’s skewing the system,’ she said.

But Ms Scaffidi said the lack of voter turnout could be read as satisfaction with the council rather than lack of interest in the process.

WA Local Government Association president Troy Pickard said he did not support compulsory voting because it could introduce party politics at a council level.

He also said trends showed a low participation rate often reflected a general satisfaction with the council, while peaks in voter turnout occurred when there was a controversial issue or the residents were unhappy.

Local Government Minister Tony Simpson said about 28 per cent of enrolled voters in WA took part in the elections, a 3 per cent drop from 2011.

He said voter fatigue could have been responsible for a drop this year.

Mr Simpson said community engagement with local governments would be a major focus once the reform process was complete.