Electoral Representation Review
The Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) is currently conducting a representation and subdivision review of City of Boroondara. The representation review looks at the number of councillors, if a local council should be subdivided into wards or not, if subdivided then the review considers the number of wards, ward boundaries, number of councillors per ward and ward names. The subdivision review looks at ensuring that voters are equally represented in each ward.
The review of City of Boroondara commenced 13 February 2019 and the VEC's final report with recommendations handed to the Minster of Local Government on 5 June 2019.
The preliminary report by the VEC, released 10 April 2019, contained their review recommendations and proposed three alternative options of new ward subdivisions for City of Boroondara, in all options the total number of councillors in Boroondara would increase from 10 to 11. This increase would bring council representation in Boroondara in line with other councils of a similar population in metropolitan Melbourne.
Under Option A, which is preferred by the VEC, the City of Boroondara would be split into four wards, with three councillors per ward in three of the wards, and two councillors representing the fourth ward. Currently Boroondara has 10 wards with one councilor per ward. This shift from single-councillor wards to multi-councillor wards, the VEC argues, allows residents to elect councillors with more diversity and range, while avoiding citizens being under-represented if their councillor is absent. The larger ward boundaries also allow for more clear-cut divisions, as boundaries can be divided on main
roads instead of back-streets.
An alternative option, Option B, proposes five wards with four of the wards having two councillors per ward and one ward with three councillors. Option C keeps the current system of single-councillor wards, but still increases the number of councillors to 11. This is the option preferred by the City of Boroondara, as it keeps close representation of residents, allowing residents to hold their single councillors accountable and contact them with ease.
Following the VEC's preliminary report the public had the opportunity to respond and make submissions. The VEC received more than 200 submissions from residents and community groups and approximately 80% of them were in support of Option A.
The VEC considered the submissions made and the discussion at the public hearing on 14 May 2019, 6:30pm at the Hawthorn Arts Centre, to decide on an official recommendation to be made to the Minister for Local Government.
Update: 11 June 2019
On 5 June the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) released the final report of the Boroondara Council representation and ward subdivision review. After a long process, the VEC has recommended that 11 councillors be elected from four wards, with three three-councillor wards and one two-councillor ward. If this recommendation is approved by the Minister for Local Government, the changes will come into effect for the 2020 local Council election. Currently, Boroondara Council consists of ten wards and ten councillors, one councillor per ward. For the full report, go to www.vec.vic.gov.au.
The VEC Local Council Representation Review Final Report can be found here.