Recently, important changes were made to the Local Government Act that will be operative in time for the October 2023 local government elections.
The changes –
* introduce optional preferential voting, bringing local government elections more in line with State and Federal elections;
* require direct election of a Mayor or President for all larger councils;
* abolish wards for smaller local governments;
* aligning the size of councils with the size of the population of each local government area;
* enable reforms to the owners and occupiers roll to prevent the use of ‘sham leases‘, addressing critical findings of the City of Perth Inquiry;
* set State-wide caretaker periods during ordinary council elections;
setting standardised council meeting procedures;
* mandate live streaming and recording of council meetings;
* establish mandated communications agreements between council members and the local government administration to ensure timely responses to Councillor enquiries;
* require all local governments to publish information through online registers, including registers that disclose information about local government leases, grants, and goods and services contracts; and
* introduce new requirements for the publication of performance indicators and results for all local government Chief Executive Officers, with provision for limited exemptions for sensitive matters.
In Fremantle, the changes mean the old 6 wards producing 12 elected members in total, is reduced to 4 wards producing 8 elected members in total. And there are some potentially new ward names – North (Ward 1 on the above map), Coastal (Ward 2), and Central (Ward 3) and East(Ward 4). (Who said local government councillors don’t have crazy imaginations!)
The Deputy Mayor of City of Fremantle kindly sat down with our editor, Michael Barker, to make this podcast discussing the changes and what they mean for Fremantle in particular.
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Here’s the PODCAST. Enjoy!