The Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) in its preliminary report on the Electoral Representation Review has ignored the majority support for the retention of ten single-councillor wards which has worked effectively since the City of Boroondara was formed.
“This report reveals the VEC’s track record which clearly favours multi-member wards and their bias towards the proportional representation voting system,” said Cr Addis, Mayor of Boroondara.
The Local Government Act requires the VEC to conduct an electoral representation review of each local council in Victoria before every third general election and this occurs approximately every 12 years.
The purpose of a representation review is to provide an electoral structure that provides fair and equitable representation. The electoral structure for Boroondara was last reviewed in 2008. The VEC’s recommendation, subsequently adopted by the Minister for Local Government, was for Boroondara to remain with ten single-councillor wards with a minor change to ward boundaries.
The VEC’s preliminary report was formally released on 10 April 2019 and presents a preferred option against the clear opinion voiced by the Boroondara community. This option is a four ward electoral structure comprising 11 councillors. This is an entirely different proposition to that identified by the Boroondara community.
“Our community has presented well-reasoned arguments focusing on local interests yet the VEC has simply ignored this feedback,” Cr Addis said.
“That the community’s preferred option is not even a VEC choice speaks volumes. The VEC needs to be mindful of this, otherwise this exercise will be a farce.”
Council is calling on the Boroondara community to further express its opposition to the VEC’s failure to listen and to advocate for retention of the current 10 single member ward model of representation in our city.
“Retaining the current structure of ten single member wards means councillors are more likely to be local representatives, easily accessible to residents, aware of local issues and have more individual accountability," Cr Addis said.
“Council believes single member wards provide the form of representation that best mirrors the needs of our community.”
The multi-member ward arrangements would allow idle councillors to coast along allowing their more industrious colleagues to do all the work. If there are three energetic councillors, there is the opposite difficulty of duplication – with perhaps contradictory demands being made. Additionally, this arrangement makes it much easier for a councillor to continue as a passenger, making no tangible contribution.
“If multi-member wards are introduced, we run the risk of party politics being prevalent in Boroondara because groups of candidates can run and campaign together effectively making it impossible for independent candidates to successfully compete. This means party political objectives take priority over meeting community needs,” Cr Addis said.
“If there are changes to the current electoral structure, it will have a major impact on the way our local communities are represented. So have your say on the Electoral Representation Review.”
For information about the Electoral Representation Review 2019 or to support 10 single-councillor wards, visit www.boroondara.vic.gov.au/vec-review.
Council's preliminary submission to the VEC can be reviewed on our website.
To view the VEC preliminary report, visit www.vec.vic.gov.au.
Response submissions can be sent to the VEC using the online submission form at www.vec.vic.gov.au. Alternatively, submissions can be posted to level 11, 530 Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000 or emailed to [email protected]. Submissions must be received by the VEC by 5pm on Wednesday 8 May 2019.
For media enquiries, email [email protected] or call 0481 912 411.