Wards would open door to ‘numpties’

Wards would open door to ‘numpties’

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Reinstating wards in the City of Gosnells would be a step backwards that could lead to less suitable councillors being elected according to Gosnells councillor Glenn Dewhurst.

His comments came after the ward debate was reignited this week when City of Gosnells mayor Olwen Searle said the city would begin a formal review process into the issue next year.

The review was launched as a result of a submission signed by 250 electors requesting council reconsider its position ahead of the 2017 local government elections.

The city adopted the one ward system in 2009 following a lengthy debate and a review costing almost $14,000.

Mr Dewhurst said he supported the city’s current system because it forced councillors and candidates to work harder for public support and allowed ratepayers to receive representation from any councillor regardless of their area.

“Council elections have just gone by and people that I know in other areas did not want to vote for people in their wards,” he said.

“The community expects to be able to select the best from the whole pool not the people they’re lumped with, otherwise you could end up with two numpties in your area.

“In past years there have been two councillors in a ward who have not been able to stand up for their community, while other communities have flourished right next door.

“Wards are going back in time, it’s like going back to the 50s and 60s.”

Several councillors have previously come out in favour of the ward system including Pierre Yang who said it was a matter of accountability.

“It’s a direct, simple system that brings back strong accountability,” he said.

“At the moment we have 120,000 people in the City of Gosnells and each election we elect six councillors, how do all those people know that I’m doing a good job in Langford if they live in Huntingdale or Gosnells?

“If you have a smaller area people can see if you’re not doing a good job and if you don’t deserve to be there and they can vote accordingly.”

Ms Searle said the city was obligated to undertake a formal review of its representational arrangements once every eight years and the Local Government Act also provided the opportunity for electors to request a review at any time.

She said the submission, which was received last month, had brought forward the planned review from late 2016 to early 2016.

“A report will be presented to the council in coming weeks providing details of the submission the city has received requesting the reintroduction of a ward system,” she said.

“That report will detail council’s obligation in relation to undertaking a review of its current representational arrangements.”