Calls for a new system in merged councils

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, 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.

“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 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.”