Media Release - Council Wards

Published on Thursday, 17 November 2022 at 4:45:37 PM

Please see attached document for full Media release

Council wards and numbers to change at 2023 local government elections.


The Shire of Northam finalised the review of its wards and representation at its Ordinary Council
Meeting held on 16 November 2022. Council has resolved to change from a Council elected
President to a public vote; its ward boundaries by reducing to 3 wards (West, Central and
East); and reducing the number of elected members on council to 9 at the 2023 elections and
8 in the 2025 elections.


It is a legislative requirement for local governments with wards to undertake a review at least
every 8 years with the last review being undertaken in 2015.


In September 2022, the state government announced a suite of local government reforms.
These reforms required the Council to implement actions which were incorporated into this
review which included changing the method for electing the President and reducing its
number of elected members to between 5 and 9 in accordance with population thresholds.
Shire President, Cr Chris Antonio said
“the Local Government Advisory Board provides
guidelines which takes into consideration the ratio of councillors to electors for its wards and
details that the ratio deviation should fall within plus or minus 10%. The current ward structure
did not allow for equal representation across its wards with some being significantly over or
underrepresented. The guidelines detail that the Board is reluctant to recommend to the
Minister for Local Government changes to ward boundaries and representation where the
ratio deviation is not achieved and as such the Council considered the options against the
five factors when determining the new structure”
.


All option must be assessed against community of interest, physical/topographical features,
demographic trends, economic factors and the ratio of councillors to electors in the various
wards.


Significant community consultation was undertaken through the review process which
commenced in August 2022. Community drop-in sessions were held in Bakers Hill, Grass Valley,
Northam and Wundowie over an 8 week period in addition to various notifications through
print and digital media seeking community input.


Shire President, Cr Chris Antonio said
“There was a mixed response from the community in
relation to the preferred system with 14 of 19 responses preferring to maintain the current
situation, four submissions preferred to dispense with wards and 1 submission preferred to
create three wards”
.


An updated ward map is provided (in the attached pdf.) which will form part of the submission to the Local
Government Advisory Board for c
onsideration prior to making its recommendation to the
Minister for local government.


Media contact: Jason Whiteaker
Chief Executive Officer
Phone: (08) 9622 6100
Email:
ceo@northam.wa.gov.au
Date: 17/11/2022