Shire ward and councillor numbers reduced
Published on 30 June 2023
The Minister for Local Government has approved the recommendation of the Local Government Advisory Board to abolish wards and reduce councillor numbers in the Shire of Broome.
The Shire boundaries currently include the Broome and Dampier wards, but this will be reduced to a single ward in time for the Local Government Election on October 23.
The change will see councillor numbers reduced from nine to eight.
However, the new popularly elected Shire President will hold a ninth seat on Council with the same voting rights as the other councillors, meaning there will be little difference in overall representation.
The Council unanimously resolved to move to a noward system and maintain the current level of representation, at the December Ordinary Meeting of Council, after conducting a Review of Wards and Representation between September and December 2022.
The review of ward boundaries was prompted by the State Government making it clear the Shire would have to elect a Shire President by a public vote at the next election, rather than being chosen by the councillors.
Earlier this year, at the request of the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC), the Council again unanimously voted for the resolution to correct a small legislative anomaly.
While the Shire of Broome was not required to abolish its ward system, a continued decline in the number of electors in the Dampier ward, which has one councillor to every 558 electors, compared to one councillor to every 1010 electors in the Broome ward, prompted the Council to support the change.
Broome Shire President Desiree Male said abolishing the Shire’s wards had been previously considered before the announcement of the new State Government reforms.
“Councillors represent a broad cross-section of the communities in and around Broome,” Cr Male said.
“So, they are well-informed when it comes to making decisions about issues concerning every part of the Shire.”
The DLGSC will initiate a series of administrative and statutory processes to obtain the Governor’s approval and publish the changes in the Government Gazette.