Council’s ward structure set to change under proposed Local Government Act reforms

The incoming elected Central Goldfields Shire Council may be affected by new legislation introduced into parliament last week, with reforms to the Local Government Act proposing to create single member wards.

The proposed new Local Government Act plans to improve democracy, accountability and service delivery in the state’s 79 councils.

The Act proposes six reforms, including introducing a preference for single member wards to “make councils more accountable”, as opposed to the Central Goldfields Shire’s current system, before the elected council was dismissed in 2017, which saw three single member wards in Paddy’s Ranges, Flynn and Tullaroop, followed by the Maryborough Ward which was represented by four councillors.

Central Goldfields Shire chief administrator Noel Harvey said while the recommendation is not a surprise, it would not be the preferred option for the shire.

Mr Harvey said the Victorian Electoral Commission conducts regular reviews of the electoral structure and that he is currently campaigning for a review to be carried out in the Central Goldfields Shire.

“At the moment we really are left in limbo, we want a review to be done so that a plan can be set for the future,” he said.

“It is problematic when you divide a shire like the Central Goldfields into single member wards where previously you had three single member wards and one ward with four councillors.

“The simple thing would be to split the Maryborough Ward (four member ward) into four separate wards, however this does not seem to be a responsible outcome.

For more on this story see the Front Page of The Advertiser, Tuesday, June 25

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