The year 2017-2018 was an important year for the Local Government Advisory Board (the Board) and for the sector in general, with the conduct of the local government elections in October 2017.
While the elections provide the opportunity for renewal among the elected members of the State’s 137 local governments, it also allows many councils to review and reconsider their current ward and representation structures. These reviews must always
be completed by 30 June in the year of the election, in order for any changes to take effect on time.
One of the important roles of the Board is the consideration of all such reviews undertaken by local governments. After careful analysis and assessment of a council’s proposal, the Board makes a recommendation to the Minister for Local Government.
The Minister may accept or reject the Board’s recommendation on the proposed changes.
Ward and representation reviews also provide the opportunity for comprehensive public consultation. As well, in their review, each council must consider and analyse five specific factors, being community of interest; physical and topographic features;
demographic trends; economic factors; and the ratio of councillors to electors in the various wards. Considering and combining these elements provides the ideal opportunity for creating a ward and representation structure which is both fair and best
meets the needs of the local community.
The Board would like to acknowledge the work and thank those local governments that submitted reviews in preparation for the 2017 elections. Local governments are in a unique position to consult with the community and ensure that there is balance and
good governance in their own local area. The Board supports the concept of autonomy and accountability for all local governments in Western Australia. Providing the opportunity for each local government to undertake their own ward and representation
analysis is a positive step towards this goal.
The Board has also continued to build on its governance structure over the past 12 months, including a one day workshop which focused on evaluating Board performance and further developing (internal) templates for assessment of boundary change proposals,
and ward and representation reviews. All Board governance documentation is developed in accordance with Public Sector Commission principles.
As always, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Board members and deputies for their contribution throughout the year. Their depth of experience delivers a professional, knowledgeable and independent approach to the decision making process.
I would also like to thank our immediate staff, Julie Knight, Julie Craig and Renata Mlinar, who provided great support to the Board throughout the year. Your assistance helps us to operate in an efficient and effective manner. I look forward to the Board
continuing its excellent work over the coming year.
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