There has been a change of direction from the Department of Local Government with their announcement today of a stream-lined process for implementing the ward system. This is good news for the community.
As I have previously written, despite virtually every local government wanting to keep the ward system, the Local Government Advisory Board (LGAB) decided to recommend to Tony Simpson MLA, Minister for Local Government, that the ward system should be abolished. This has far reaching implications for the residents which is why there has been intense unhappiness and a strong push back from local governments, WALGA and Councillors.
Belatedly the Department of Local Government released guidelines on how a ward system could remain. As I have remarked before, these guidelines were problematic because there was not sufficient time to jump through all the hoops that were required. Furthermore the guidelines were worded in a manner which discouraged anyone from even bothering.
The Department is to be congratulated for listening to everyone’s concerns and coming up with a more achievable method. Today’s announcement provides a clear and simple process for the implementation of a ward system. Basically, the merging local governments need to agree on the ward boundaries and submit the plan to the LGAB by 31 March. The LGAB have previously stated that when the local governments agree on the ward structure they will recommend the Minister accept it – unfortunately they only shared this information after all the original proposals had already been submitted.
(Please be aware that these views are my own and have not been endorsed by the City of Bayswater)