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Community Opportunity to Shape Local Government

21 July 2004

Compulsory voting and elected member allowances are among a raft of issues the community will be asked to have a say on as part of a major review of local government elections.

The Local Government Elections Review is a Local Government Association-led initiative that enjoys State Government support and will help direct the future of local government in SA.

Announcing the initiative today, LGA President Councillor John Legoe said the eight-week community consultation period is a key component of the process that aims to strengthen local government, increase its effectiveness and better coordinate strategic decision-making of State and Local governments.

Other issues to be explored during community consultation include:

  • the frequency of elections;
  • who should be entitled to vote in local government elections;
  • whether elections should be by wards or across the entire community;
  • whether mayors should be elected by ratepayers or by councillors;
  • having the community more effectively involved in the review of council representation structures; and
  • election campaigning.

"The object is to strengthen local government by listening to the people. Ours is the form of government closest to the people and we want to keep it that way," said Cr Legoe.

He added that this is the first time in South Australia that the LGA and councils will manage public consultation on these issues. He expects that the grassroots approach will result in greater and more relevant community input than in previous approaches.

"The State Government has given the review its full backing and has confirmed that it will take its lead from the LGA process," he said.

Community consultation will include an informal discussion session on 11 August 2004 and an advertising and promotional push to encourage community involvement, along with all information and response tools available online at the LGA's website at www.lga.sa.gov.au/goto/electionsreview and on the websites of member councils.

Submissions must be received by 17 September 2004, after which the LGA will prepare a report for the State Government. The report is expected to help inform possible amending legislation that could be introduced into Parliament in 2005.

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