Busselton council votes against ward-based system and the independent mayoral election

If the ward-based system was passed the city would be split into three boundaries with four councillors representing east Busselton, three councillors representing west Busselton and two councillors for Dunsborough, Yallingup and Eagle Bay.
If the ward-based system was passed the city would be split into three boundaries with four councillors representing east Busselton, three councillors representing west Busselton and two councillors for Dunsborough, Yallingup and Eagle Bay.

THE Busselton and Dunsborough community will not have the opportunity to elect their next mayor after the council voted against re-introducing a ward-based system.

The City of Busselton is currently a district based system where residents elect the councillors who then elect the mayor.

In 2013, when the shire became a city  the council decided to maintain this system with then shire president Ian Stubbs elected as mayor by councillors rather than being chosen by the people.

At the council meeting on Wednesday night councillors debated whether or not to adopt a ward-based system as well as the method of electing the mayor.

Cr Tom Tuffin and Cr Rob Bennett were both in favour of giving community members the opportunity to express their views on independently electing the mayor.

Cr Bennett said 85 per cent of councils in Perth seek independent electing of their mayor and recommended to defer voting on the election until after the election in October.

Cr Tuffin said he was told by the city that the consideration of district or ward-based representation and method of election of the mayor was put back on the agenda because people had contacted the city and requested it.

He urged councillors not to make a decision until they knew what the community wanted.

He said the mayor led every person in the city and there were people who thought they should have the right to say who the mayor was.

“I think we should listen to that,” Cr Tuffin said.

“It’s not going to be expensive to get public opinion and we are not in a rush.

“Tonight we will determine what kind of council we are.

“Will we be a council who listens to the community or will we be a council who thinks we know best for everyone,” Cr Tuffin said.

Cr Jenny Green among other councillors opposed Cr Tuffin and Cr Bennett’s recommendation.

She said the ward-based system failed in the city in 2007 which is why it was voted out. 

“Councillors represent everyone and as a councillor I believe we are able to make a decision and I think it is our responsibility not to defer this recommendation,” Cr Green said.

Despite the opposition from Cr Tuffin and Cr Bennett councillors voted against community consultation and the re-introduction of a ward-based system.

The Shire of Busselton had a system of wards until 2007 when they were abolished due to views of officers at the time

Currently councillors represent the interest of all electors, ratepayers and residents of the district.

The proposed ward system would split the city into three boundaries with four councillors representing east Busselton, three councillors representing west Busselton and two councillors for Dunsborough, Yallingup and Eagle Bay. 

Have your say, do you think council should have voted for public consultation giving community members the opportunity to express their views on the voting method? Email laura.newey@fairfaxmedia.com.au

Comments