With the introduction of the new Local Government Act 2020, Mansfield Shire Council will move to an unsubdivided structure for the next Council election, scheduled for October this year.
Mansfield Mayor, Cr Marg Attley OAM said the adoption of the Victorian Electoral Commission’s recommendation means there will no longer be four individual Wards, but instead, a single Ward represented by five Councillors.
“The Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) ran a comprehensive process of community consultation and provided three options in its preliminary report before making its final recommendation which was announced as the endorsed change by Local Government Minister, Adem Somyurek earlier this week,” Cr Attley said.
One of the points noted in the VEC report Local Council Representation Review Mansfield Shire Council 2020 was that ‘there has been a consistent pattern of low candidate numbers and uncontested wards at general elections for Mansfield Shire Council since the last representation review in 2007. Of particular concern was the 2016 general election, where only five candidates nominated and all wards were uncontested’.
The report highlighted that ‘democracy implies choice, and in all too many general elections since the Shire’s foundation, the voters of Mansfield Shire have had no choice of representative’.
“The point the report makes about choice at elections is important and I really would like to encourage people to consider standing at the next council election,” Cr Attley said.
“Being a councillor is a very rewarding role where you are in touch with your community and can contribute to driving change that improves life across the Mansfield Shire. It would be wonderful for the community to have people of varying ages put themselves forward. Anyone who is interested in serving our community and wants to understand more about what’s involved in being a councillor is welcome to phone me or anyone of our other four councillors,” she said.
Cr Attley was first elected to Mansfield Shire Council in 2005 then re-elected in 2008, 2012 and 2016. This is her third term as Mayor.
Council did not make a submission to the electoral review.