Campaspe faces structure review

By Riverine Herald

FOR the first time since 2007 the structure of Campaspe Shire Council is being reviewed.

Undertaken by the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC), the electoral representation review will investigate Campaspe Shire Council’s electoral structure, including the number of councillors, whether the council should remain subdivided into wards, and if subdivided, the number of wards, ward boundaries, and the number of councillors per ward.

It will not consider council’s external boundaries or whether it should be combined with another council (or separated).

Reviews are generally required at least every 12 years and, according to Electoral Commissioner Warwick Gately AM, are an important way of ensuring all voters are represented in a fair and equitable way.

‘‘The opportunity to have your say doesn’t come around too often, so it’s important to have a broad range of community members contributing to the shape of their local democracy,’’ Mr Gately said.

‘‘If you are interested in the future electoral structure of your local area, I encourage you to get involved. Public submissions are a vital part of the review process, providing valuable local knowledge and perspectives.’’

Before 2007, council consisted of seven councillors elected from six wards (five single councillor wards and one two councillor ward).

Following that review, the VEC recommended Campaspe Shire consist of nine councillors elected from five wards (two three councillor wards and three single councillor wards), which is the current electoral structure.

Campaspe Shire mayor Adrian Weston said the review was crucial to the democratic process in ensuring fair and equal representation throughout the shire.

‘‘This population based review, requires wards to have no more than a 10 per cent variation in its councillor to voter ratio,’’ he said.

‘‘The number of voters per councillor should be fairly much the same in each ward. If there are variations greater than 10 per cent it generally leads to a recommendation to change relevant ward boundaries so that the ratio is within the required 10 per cent variation.’

The VEC will release its preliminary report with options for the council’s electoral structure on Wednesday, August 7, 2019 before the final report is released on October 2.

Any changes to the electoral structure of Campaspe Shire Council will apply at the next general election in 2020.