Governing Freo-style – Council Elections Just 2 Months Away

The City of Fremantle local government elections will be held on 21 October 2023.

As usual, Fremantle Shipping News will be there bringing you all the election moves and news.

Freo folk love elections. Even local government ones. And Freo ratepayers and residents turn out to vote at local government elections in far greater numbers than most other municipalities around the State.

Nominations for the Council elections will open on 31 August and close on 7 September 2023.

So, if you’re planning on running, get ready.

As we report below, some folk have already announced their intention to run.


Many of our readers will have discovered by now that, in line with the recent local government reforms introduced by the State Government, the City of Fremantle has implemented changes to the old ward boundaries and council representation. The approved changes will come into effect from the upcoming October elections.


The City’s existing 6 ward boundaries have been abolished and henceforth there will only be 4.

The new wards are named North, Coastal, Central and East. Quite imaginative.

Here are the old 6 wards and the new 4.


The City is also transitioning to a new Council representation structure, reducing the number of of councillors from 12 to 8 in two stages.

First, there will be a reduction from 12 councillors to 10 for the October 2023 elections; and then down from 10 to 8 for the 2025 elections.

At the October 2023 elections –
* The Council will be reduced to 11 elected members, being 10 Councillors plus the independently elected Mayor.
* 4 vacancies – one in each ward – will be up for election in the new wards (for four-year term).
* Following the election, the 6 Councillors who are not up for election will be allocated to the closest new ward.

The election of the Mayor does not change (that is, elected by the combined electorate of all wards). The City’s Mayor Hannah Fitzhardinge is currently serving until 2025 and so the Mayor’s position isn’t up for election this time round.

The following table outlines the number of Councillor vacancies for the October 2023 elections and what ward the continuing Councillors will be allocated to following the 2023 elections.


For the first two years, as the City transitions to the new representation structure, there will be 3 councillors representing the Coastal and East wards and two representing Central and North wards during this transition period (as shown in the table above).

Stage Two will occur at the October 2025 local government elections when –

* The City’s Council will be reduced to 9 elected members, including 8 Councillors (reduced from 10) plus the Mayor.
* 2 Councillors representing each of the four wards.
* 4 vacancies, one per ward, will be up for election (for four-year term)
* This will conclude the transition process.


So far, candidates who we understand have declared their intention to run for Council in October are: in Coastal, Jemima Williamson-Wong; in North, Ingrid van Dorssen.

The big question is, will all the ‘retiring’ Councillors, who weren’t carried over into the new wards as sitting Councillors, run again in new wards?

We look forward to bringing you more moves and news on the elections over the weeks ahead, including podcast interviews with the candidates.

By the way, you might like to delve back into our trove of podcast interviews with current Councillors and the Mayor.

* By Michael Barker, Editor, Fremantle Shipping News


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