Community EngagementMaroondah

Maroondah Journal: Council backs current set-up

By February 26, 20082 Comments

The Victorian Electoral Commission is currently undertaking a representation review into the ward structure and number of councillors within Maroondah.

The Maroondah Journal has reported on this review, amid the official council submission calling for the retention of the status quo:

Maroondah councillors have urged the electoral commission to retain seven councillors in seven wards. Cr Alex Makin disagrees.

Council’s submission was on the agenda for February’s council meeting and was passed five to two, with myself and Cr. Maureen Naylor voting against the council’s defence of the status quo.

“I am not in favour of the council’s current representation. If it continues down the path of having seven I think it ward boundaries will continue to be confusing for the public. What we need is a simple ward structure”.

The current ward structure within Maroondah divides a number of communities making it difficult for community members to ascertain who their ward councillor is. As an example, it is quite common for me to receive calls from Ringwood residents living in Clocktower Ward since the current structure divides Ringwood.

Cr Makin said he would advocate for three wards and three councillors on the basis it was consistent with what the community desired.

Consultation undertaken by Maroondah City Council, through a series of workshops, confirmed that the community favoured reform through a structure with three wards electing three councillors each. It is disappointing that the council has chosen to disregard the views of the community simply to try and protect the status quo.

Furthermore the current ward boundaries perpetuate a division between Ringwood and Croydon rather than ensuring that council decisions are made with a holistic approach. It is time for the ward structure to be modified to reflect a cohesive Maroondah community.

Given that Council has chosen to ignore the community I will be authoring an individual submission to the Victorian Electoral Commission’s review into Maroondah. Submissions are due by the 4th of March.

Alex Makin

Alex Makin

Alex Makin is a councillor for the Mullum Ward in the City of Maroondah. Alex has been a councillor since 2005, representing ratepayers, businesses, community groups and residents. I aim to continue making a difference and welcome any thoughts you may have in regard to life, community and business in Maroondah. Phone: (03) 9870 8202 or 0408 311 645 Email: alex@alexmakin.com.au

2 Comments

  • Peter Feeney says:

    Aren’t you concerned that having three wards, means much larger wards, and therefore higher costs to anyone running for council and that this will lead to greater involvement by political parties in our local council.

  • Alex Makin says:

    Hello Peter,

    Thank you for your comments. While larger wards might lead to higher costs in terms of campaigning, multi-member wards through proportional voting should help reduce the amount of ‘running mates’ in council election.

    This should lead to more transparent council elections and in addition would result in each ward being contested by genuine candidates. Wyreena Ward, for example, has been uncontested for two of three past council elections. Uncontested wards indicate a diminishing interest in local council elections partially due to the current structure.

    Ultimately proportional voting through the introduction of multi-member wards should lead to a higher standard of local democracy.

    Thanks,

    Alex

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