Wednesday, April 4, 2007

VEC's preferred option a good start

Released yesterday by the Victorian Electoral Commission, the preliminary report for the Darebin representation review has put forward three three-councillor wards as its preferred preliminary option for Darebin council. Its first alternative option is also for three three-councillor wards, but with different ward boundaries. Of more concern is a second alternative option that provides for nine single-councillor wards, but with ward boundaries amended from the current structure.

While the preferred option is welcome news for local democracy, the second alternative option for single-councillor wards would retain the problems with the current structure and means the door is still open for an ALP factional campaign attempting to reverse the VEC's preliminary findings. For this reason it is very important that concerned members of the community read the preliminary report and respond in support of the preferred option for three three-councillor wards.

The deadline for submissions is 24 April. Submitters also have the option of speaking to their response at a public hearing on 3 May (details at the VEC website).

The preliminary submissions that informed the VEC's preliminary report overwhelmingly argued for change. Few submissions argued for retention of single-councillor wards, with key support for this position unsurprisingly coming from the City of Darebin itself. Council's submission was adopted in March by the very councillors who stand to be directly affected by any move to multi-councillor wards. Currently the nine council positions are held by nine members of the ALP's Labor Unity faction.

Please watch this site for updates and further analysis of the preliminary report. Feel free to leave your comments using the link below. Comments are moderated, but open debate is most welcome. Alternatively, send me an email

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Comments are most welcome on any of the posts at Northcote Independent. I encourage feedback - positive or negative. Feel free to disagree, but remember that posts are moderated to ensure they are on the topic and in the spirit of open debate, as outlined in my editorial policy.