Councillor Don Palmer Providing Local Leadership & Working for You

I say the Representation Review is “Finally” Complete because we thought we might be way back in April.

As I indicated in my blog post of April 1, we must review the representation of our Council. The Local Government Act forces us every 8 years to do this.

This is a prolonged process in that we must go out twice to our community. The first time with multiple options, the second time with one preferred option.

This was complicated this year. Complicated by the State Government’s open stance that no Council should have more than 12 members. And we have 13, including the Mayor.

They had indicated they were going to legislate to force this. Accordingly, we promoted a reducing Unley Council down to 11 members (including the Mayor). An option that was not a clear favourite. In promoting this option, we advised those in our community who participated in the survey of the Government’s position.

Again, there was no clear preference between reducing to 11 or keeping 13. The Government then backed down on forcing a reduction.

Believing some may have been influenced by the Government’s public utterances, we felt the results of the consultation was compromised. Our thinking, therefore, turned to maybe we should keep the status quo.

Unfortunately, under the requirement of the Act, this meant going back out consultation yet again. The result of this consultation showed our community clearly in favour of keeping the status quo.

We voted on this last night and determined we would submit to the electoral commissioner keeping Unley Council at 12 elected members plus the Mayor.

unley-ward-mapEven though I was an advocate earlier for 3 wards x 3 members plus a Mayor, I support 6×2 plus the Mayor. A major reason for this is because one of the main focuses of good representation is that council should reflect communities of like interest. This includes economic, recreational, social, regional, or other kind, and be consistent with community structures, values, expectations, and aspirations.

In my opinion, the 6×2 model achieves this. More importantly, the 5×2 model conflicts with this.

So the Representation Review is “Finally” Complete. Or is it? The Electoral Commissioner gets the last say and we will need to wait on this.