The Statutes Amendment (Local Government) Review Bill 2020 has now passed Parliament.
The legislation will improve transparency and efficiencies for Local Government and reduce costs within Councils by improving dispute resolutions processes, implementing a rate-monitoring scheme and updating election procedures.
After witnessing two supplementary elections for the same ward area (Gault Ward in the City of Mitcham), I tabled amendments to the Local Government (Elections) Act 1999 to reduce the possibility of this happening in the future and inevitably save rate payers money.
Last year, the South Australian Electoral Commission were tasked with organising 10 supplementary elections, and so far, this year, have been tasked with another 11. At a cost of between $30,000 - $60,000 to hold each election, this is an unnecessary bill for ratepayers to foot.
The new amendments will mean a Council vacancy can be filled 12 months after a periodic election or a supplementary election by the next highest polling candidate (after the successful candidate) in the most recent election (if the candidate is still willing and eligible to be elected and, if not, the next highest polling candidate will be offered the vacancy, and so on, until the vacancy is filled). I hope the image below explains this process.
We also resolved the City of Mitcham's recent Gault Ward situation, to ensure any vacancy occurring during a supplementary election (in the same ward) will either be filled using the method discussed above, or if after the Close of the Voters roll but before the Dispatch of Ballot Material to Electors, voters will simply be notified that they are voting for two or more candidates rather than one.
If you are interested in this legislation, feel free to read the Bill or contact my office to discuss this important piece of legislation in more detail.