Reintroduce ward boundaries in Eurobodalla Council

​The Beagle Editor, Some years ago, Eurobodalla Council did away with wards within the shire. I have no idea why but the effect it has had is to take away representation from some areas of the council region and as seen in the last council election allowed the concentration of those selected as councillors in more populated areas to the detriment of areas in the shire less well populated. I doubt that when this change occurred there was little thought of this. What has highlighted this problem is the Council election of 2016. In 2016 candidates ran as groups and some candidates in at least one group were advantaged through the popularity of Councillor Innes. Through good luck rather than good management Narooma was fortunate to be represented and most of the other councillors are concentrated in the northern part of the shire. The outcome of this is that some of those living in the shire are getting very little if any representation. You might well ask, “so what?” In any level of government everybody’s vote should count, and this works well in federal and state elections. When you have a council as geopolitically diverse as the Eurobodalla it doesn’t work as well. Where this is a problem is that where agriculture and urban meet there is always a disconnect. This was not a problem when we had the electorate broken up and the diversity overcame by local representation where a councillor could speak directly and with some empathy on behalf of those in their ward.

Above: The original wards. Each ward had a depot, a maintenance crew, a district engineer and councillors who represented the ward

So why were wards removed? I have no idea and would really hope someone could shed some light on this. In the meantime, I am suggesting residents in the shire consider some advantages of reintroducing the wards; Better representation, for one. Councillors would be accountable for the ward they represent and better able to avoid situations like Pretty Point. If anyone doesn’t know about Pretty Point, then I think that would highlight the problem that even at shire level you most likely would not be aware of this particular issue unless you lived close by. Reintroducing the ward system would ensure you knew your councillor and would interact directly with her or him on this and other issues. This would have been really good when dealing with the issues surrounding Mackay Park. This change would not disadvantage the group idea, but they would have to work harder with selection of candidate. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Any feedback would be appreciated. Donald Macdonald

#Opinion #Council