Frankston Times 5 May 2020

Page 5

Council changes may hurt small parties and independents Brodie Cowburn FRANKSTON Council will be made to move to a single member ward structure at the 2024 election. Kingston Council is expected to be one of eight councils which will move to the single member ward structure at the 2020 local government elections. The Local Government Act 2020 was passed into in March. The act mandated the change to single member wards for a number of local councils statewide. Both Frankston and Kingston Council currently consist of nine councillors spread across three wards. The change will see individual councillors represent smaller wards. The state government’s move to enforce single member wards in Kingston defies a recommendation made by the Victorian Electoral Commission last year. The VEC finished a review of Kingston Council’s ward structure in October 2019, and recommended that council expand to eleven councillors spread across just three wards. Local government minister Adem Somyurek said the changes made in the new Local Government Act would “make councils more accountable and democratic and will help them to deliver the services their communities rely on.” There is some fear that the changes will prove hurtful for small party and independent candidates at council elections. Victorian Greens leader Samantha Ratnam said “Victorians

FRANKSTON Council is set to undergo a structure change at the next election. Picture: Gary Sissons

deserve diversity in their councils. Moving all councils to a single member ward structure will increase the likelihood that councils are controlled

entirely by major parties and that decision making is dominated by ward interests over the common good of the council area.”

“The VEC has advised against a shift to single member wards for a number of years, so it begs the question, what possible reason that

isn’t dodgy or self serving could the government have for introducing this reform,” she said. The City of Casey will not participate in the election process while under the care of administrators, who were appointed after the council was sacked in February. Other changes made with the passage of the Local Government Act 2020 include mandatory training for councillors, and a statewide code of conduct.

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Frankston Times

5 May 2020


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