The veteran Golden Plains politician Bill McArthur has slammed the review process for the shire’s electoral system.
The Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) recently called for views on the number of councillors and whether the area should be subdivided into wards.
Mr McArthur, who served as a councillor for 23 years, and was President of the Municipal Association of Victoria, said: “Every hurdle the VEC can put up to make it a difficult process, I think they do.”
Describing participation as “very minimal” he said: “It’s not an easy process to engage with. You’ve got to make your submission, you can’t just turn up on the night to be heard, you’ve got to apply to be heard.”
In a statement to The Courier, the VEC said it “strongly encourages participation… and values local knowledge and perspectives.”
It said there was a “thorough consultation process” with plenty of time for submissions.
For Mr MacArthur, who was voted out in the 2016 elections, strong concerns also remain about representation in the shire’s north-west. “Linton, Smythesdale and Haddon – they’re without a voice,” he said. The VEC introduced a unsubdivided system after the last review in 2007, which attracted a total of 15 public submissions.
“I would say become involved,” Mr McArthur said. “If you feel your local views are not being represented at the council table, make submissions in this process.”