Unley Council considers slash of councillors

 Unley Council is proposing a reduction of the number of Wards from 6 to 5; and the reduction of the number of Councillors from 12 to 10.

Consultation closes today so if you want to make a submission to Council then you must do it today (due 20 April).

Here's a copy of my submission to Unley Council ...

I don’t support reducing the number of Unley Council Wards from 6 to 5; and reducing the number of councillors from 12 to 10.

It was proposed in the past (probably ~ 7 years ago) and was overwhelmingly rejected by council.

My reasons are as follows.

A reduction in the number of councillors will reduce the diversity of council. A diversity of sex, religion, ethnicity and age is important. It will be difficult to achieve more diversity with a reduced number. Council must have a priority to enhance its diversity and its connection with the community.

Larger wards will make it difficult for candidates to campaign and represent the constituents. It needs to be remembered that most councillors also have a daytime job or other commitments. A larger ward would make it difficult for councillors to truly represent the residents.

The larger wards would probably result in candidates being supported by political parties to help with the increased cost of election campaigns. That would be an unfortunate outcome.

Unley Council is known for its City of Villages that corresponds to the local shopping strips and hubs eg. Black Forest, Goodwood, King William Road, etc. The larger wards would split some of these villages into different wards. That would make it difficult for residents to identify their ward.

A smaller council would make it difficult for the community voice to be heard via a local councillor. A heavier workload for councillors would result in the voice and concerns of residents being diluted.

A reduction in the number of councillors at Unley (and in all SA councils) would probably over time result in increased allowances for councillors due to their heavier work commitments. That would not be a desirable outcome. It would also tempt political parties to get involved.

The current number of wards is just right. It works reasonably well with councillors being able to represent their ward. If the system isn’t broken, then I ask “why break it”? In the scheme of things, there will be only a small cost saving.

I urge Unley Council to vote against a reduction in the number of wards.

I trust that my comments will be given due consideration.