New local government changes a Threat To Fair Representation
The State Parliament Bill requiring councils to have single member wards would greatly bring about further politicisation of local councils. This should concern those wanting a healthy local democracy, responsive to the public's wishes.
Ballarat City with 3 wards of 3 councillors each, now has 2 councillors of different political alliances as well as an independent in every ward. This provides a balance against any political allegiances at play in decision making. All residents also currently have direct access to 3 councillors representing their area.
Single member wards are a 'winner takes all' system. If your preferred candidate isn't elected it is possible that your views may not be represented effectively.
Local independent candidates will have little chance against the major parties ability to fund campaigns and manpower for door knocking. The likely result will be a council dominated by either Labor or Liberals.
The only alternative offered in the Bill - for the whole municipality to be a single ward - also has problems as councillors would not be representing any particular area.
In fact all councillors could live in the same small area and have little or no connection with other suburbs or outlying areas of the city.
Stuart Kelly, Ballarat.
I am all for the State Government's idea of one councilor per ward. With the three councilors per ward we get nothing for our money and the only time you see our councilors is when there's photo opportunities.
The roads are an absolute disgrace with potholes. To get anything done, you have to go via the Ombudsman. Having one councilor per ward would be a big saving.
Unfortunately though it won't keep our rates down because this is the Ballarat council.
David Braybrook, Sebastopol.
Fun for some intolerable for others
The noise level coming from the Spilt Milk festival on Saturday 30 was totally unacceptable.We live one street away from the Victoria park boundary and on Saturday night items in our kitchen were reverberating due to the sound level.I will be asking Ballarat council what was agreed to regarding noise levels. I hope many other residents raise their concerns too.
Maurice Elsegood, Delacombe