Casting a vote at Local Government elections in October will look different, after the first tranche of legislation to amend the Local Government Act 1995 was read into Parliament by Local Government Minister John Carey this morning.
Changes voters will notice include:
  • A popular public vote for Mayors and Presidents of larger Band 1 and 2 Local Governments.
  • The abolition of electoral wards for smaller Band 3 and 4 Local Governments.
  • Optional preferential voting across all Local Government elections.
WALGA President Karen Chappel said WALGA had successfully advocated for a number of changes to the initial proposed legislation.
“While we are opposed to mandatory preferential voting, the introduction of optional preferential voting has demonstrated the Minister’s willingness to listen to the sector’s feedback.
“We are also pleased that Local Governments with a population of less than 5000 will still retain seven councillors, rather than be reduced to five councillors.
“Some of our members also proposed that costly extraordinary elections should not be held if an Elected Member resigns in the first 12 months.  The legislation reflects this, meaning the unsuccessful candidate with the most votes is automatically elected, which will save Local Governments time, money and resources.
“Overall, the Local Government reform package will modernise the Local Government sector and reduce unnecessary red tape, which is ultimately beneficial for ratepayers in all communities.
“We look forward to the second tranche – which includes detail on the Office of the Local Government Inspector and Elected Member Superannuation among other measures – being introduced towards the end of the year.
Other changes in the first tranche of legislation include:
  • The live streaming of Council meetings for larger Band 1 and 2 Local Governments
  • Recording of meetings for smaller Band 3 and 4 Local Governments
  • Standardised Council Meeting procedures
For an interview with WALGA President Karen Chappel please contact: 
WALGA Media and Communications 0448 896 435 or