Elector Representation Review

May 2017 UPDATE: Adelaide Hills Council members have resolved to resume the Elector Representation Review on 1 June 2017. The decision follows the SA Electoral Commissioner's determination not to certify Council's Electoral Representation Report based on an interpretational difference of the term 'interested persons'. More information is available here. The Options Paper will be open for consultation from 1 June to 14 July 2017 on Have Your Say.


Elector Representation Review - CONSULTATIONS CLOSED FEBRUARY 2017

An Elector Representation Review for the Adelaide Hills Council is underway to determine whether the community would benefit from any alterations to the composition and ward structure of Council and to ensure fair and equitable representation for all voters.

A representation review is a requirement of Section 12 of the Local Government Act 1999, and must be undertaken every eight years. The review examines:

  • the appropriate number of councillors for Adelaide Hills Council;
  • whether Council has wards or no wards;
  • if wards, the appropriate ward boundary size and number of Council wards;
  • the appropriate number of councillors per ward; and
  • whether the Mayor continues to be elected by the community or appointed from within the elected members.

Consultation Process
In August and September 2016, we invited interested community members to review a Representation Options Paper and provide feedback on the various options available. Click here to download a copy of the Representation Options Paper.

In November and December 2016, we considered the submissions received from the first (Options Paper) consultation, along with the legislative requirements regarding Elector Representation Reviews, and determined a proposal for further public consultation on the representation arrangements that the Council proposes to be put in place. The proposal was for an elected Mayor, the Council area not divided into wards (i.e. wards to be abolished) and for 12 area councillors.

Council's proposal, along with the submissions received from the first (Options Paper) consultation, were incorporated into a Representation Review Report. Click here to download a copy.

From 21 December 2016 to 10 February 2017, we invited submissions from interested persons on the proposal for the future representation arrangements contained in the Representation Review Report. A total of 430 submissions including four petitions were received during the consultation period.

On 21 February 2017, members of the public who made submissions, or their representatives, were provided with the opportunity to be heard by Council in relation to their submissions. Eleven people took up this opportunity.

Council Resolution
At its 28 February 2017 Ordinary Meeting, Council considered the submissions received and the requirements of the legislation regarding Representation Reviews and resolved as follows:

  1. That the report be received and noted.
  2. The following proposal for the future composition and structure of the Adelaide Hills Council be carried into effect as follows:
    1. The principal member of the Adelaide Hills Council continues to be a Mayor, elected by the electors for the area.
    2. The Adelaide Hills Council area not be divided into wards.
    3. The Adelaide Hills Council comprise twelve (12) area councillors who will be elected by electors at council-wide elections to represent the whole Council area.
  3. The key reasons for the Adelaide Hills Council determining its proposal for the future composition and structure of the Adelaide Hills Council are as follows:
    1. Elected Mayor:
      • a Mayor elected by the community is in accord with a fundamental principle of democracy –  choice; and
      • the election of a Mayor affords all eligible members of the community the opportunity to express faith in a candidate, should they choose to do so, and provides Council with an identifiable principal member who is directly accountable to the community;
    2. No Wards:
      • Every eligible elector will be afforded the opportunity to vote for all thirteen members of Council (i.e. the mayor and all twelve area councillors).
      • The most favoured candidates from across the Council area will likely be elected, rather than candidates who may be favoured by the peculiarities of a ward based system. 
      • The "no wards" structure is not affected by fluctuations in elector numbers and, as such, there is no need for an on-going review of elector distribution and/or fluctuations in elector numbers and the potential impacts thereof upon a ward structures in terms of the quota tolerance limits. 
      • A council area which is not divided into wards can be perceived as a strong and united entity with a focus on the community as a whole.
      • Existing "communities of interest" are not affected or divided by arbitrary ward boundaries. 
      • The lines of communication between Council and its community may be enhanced, given that members of the community will be able to freely consult with any/or all members of Council, rather than feeling obliged to consult with specific ward councillors.
    3. Twelve councillors:
      • There should be sufficient councillors to manage the affairs of Council
      • The workloads of individual councillors should not become excessive
      • The variety in the economy, land use and social demographics requires more attention from councillors and a broader skill set than less diverse councils.
  1. The Chief Executive Officer be authorised to prepare and forward the necessary report and documents to the Electoral Commissioner, pursuant to the provisions of Section 12 of the Local Government Act 1999.

Report to the Electoral Commissioner
Adelaide Hills Council prepared and lodged a final Representation Review Report (including Appendices) with the SA Electoral Commissioner. The Commissioner advised he would not certify Council's Elector Representation Review Report. The Commissioner did not raise any concerns with the decision or proposal made by the Council in respect to the proposed ward structure, Mayoral appointment or Councillor numbers. He determined not to certify the Representation Review Report due to a difference in the interpretation of 'interested persons' in the consultation process.

Lachlan Miller, Executive Manager Governance and Risk
(08) 8408 0400