Local governments are able to divide their district into wards or to treat the entire area as a single ward. A ward is essentially the same as an electorate for State and Commonwealth Government elections, where residents get to vote for a candidate to represent their area in Parliament (or in the case of local government, on Council).
The City of Gosnells is not currently divided into wards. This means that Councillors are elected by the entire district, and residents and ratepayers can vote for any candidate in the City’s elections.
Council is considering whether the City should be split into wards. If this was to occur, the City would be split into a number of wards and residents and ratepayers would vote for candidates who have nominated to be elected to the ward in which the resident or ratepayer lives. For example, if the City was divided into north and south wards, then residents and ratepayers in the north ward would be able to vote for candidates who nominate for the north ward. Similarly, residents and ratepayers in the south ward would be able to choose from candidates who have nominated for that ward.
It is important to note that if Council was to introduce multiple wards, once elected, Councillors would still be required to represent the entire City and not just the ward from which they were elected.
There are advantages and disadvantages of single ward and multi-ward systems. Some of the key advantages and disadvantages are listed below.
If the City was to be split into wards, there are some key issues that would need to be resolved. Under legislation, the number of Councillors per elector needs to be consistent across each of the wards. This is to ensure that every voter has an equal say in who is elected.
There are a two ways this can be achieved. The first is to make sure that each ward has the same number of Councillors and roughly the same number of electors. The City has 12 Councillors and roughly 75,000 electors which means the City could be divided into three wards, each with four Councillors and roughly 25,000 electors. Alternatively, the City could be divided into six wards, each with two Councillors and roughly 12,500 electors. There are many other combinations that could be considered.
The second option is to have different size wards with a different number of Councillors and electors in each. For example, the City could be divided into an east ward with four Councillors and 25,000 electors, and a west ward with eight Councillors and 50,000 electors. Again, there are many other combinations that could be considered.
Generally ward boundaries should be aligned with things such as suburb boundaries, major roads, rail lines, and rivers. In the City of Gosnells, it is unlikely that ward boundaries could be aligned with suburb boundaries and retain a consistent number of Councillors per elector in each ward. This means that ward boundaries will likely have to follow major roads (such as Albany Highway, Roe Highway, Tonkin Highway and Southern River Road), railway lines and the Southern and Canning Rivers.
Council is seeking feedback about whether or not the City should be split into wards. Where residents feel that the City should be split into wards, Council is also seeking feedback on how many wards there should be and where ward boundaries should be located.
Have your say:
Feedback can be provided by completing the survey:
- on the YourSay Gosnells webpage by completing the survey below,
- via email to Council@gosnells.wa.gov.au, or
- in writing to the City (PO Box 662, Gosnells WA 6990).
Feedback closes on 5pm Friday 4 August 2023.
Feedback received will be considered and a report prepared for consideration by Council. Council will decide whether or not to change from a single ward to a multi-ward system.