New ward structure for Manningham Council
by James Poyner
8th May 2020
MANNINGHAM COUNCIL will have nine wards, instead of three, at the next local election.
Manningham Council announced the changes today, requesting input from the community regarding the names of the nine new wards.
Council has to submit the suggested name changes by May 21, through Manningham’s Your Say website.
The changes were announced by Minister of Local Government, Adem Somyurek on April 22.
Manningham joins nine other councils across Victoria who will not only have a new council in October, but a new representational structure.
Representational structure has been a topic of debate in the last 12 months, firstly with debate over making all local councils single member wards or single ward representation in early drafts of recently assented Local Government Act 2020 and during representational reviews conducted by the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) in 2019.
Given Manningham has just finished a representational review, and – along with many other councils — objected to the requirement to become a single member wards council, it is a shock that this change has taken place.
Manningham Mayor, Paul McLeish said: “Our existing ward boundaries have been changed by the Victorian Government despite the Electoral Representation Review, conducted last year by the Victorian Electoral Commission, recommendation to stay with the current three multi councillor wards,”
In early April, the VEC announced their representational reviews were being wound-up as part of the new Local Government Act 2020.
When the changes to local government structure were announced on April 22, Mr Somyurek said:
“Single member wards support accountability, equity and grassroots democracy.
“This is about giving people more confidence in local government, because strong councils build strong communities.”
It is perplexing why the Minister has decided to take this action, given that there was such obvious opposition to a single member ward system in Manningham, supported by the 2019 VEC representational review which states in its final report that:
“There was also unanimous support for retaining a multi-councillor ward arrangement for Manningham City Council.
“The VEC’s analysis, along with submissions from the community and the Council, indicate that the current electoral structure is functioning well and suits the diverse landscape and demography of the local council.”
However, with the new structure now coming into effect in October, Cr McLeish is encouraging all businesses, residents and community groups within the municipality to have a say on what the mandated new nine wards will be called.
“The Minister has now given us just a couple of weeks to provide a list of ward names for Manningham.
“We want everyone in our community to share their suggestions into what our wards should be named.
“I encourage everyone to think about what represents your local area in Manningham and make a name suggestion before 21 May.
“We will then put a recommendation to the Minister for names of the nine new Manningham wards, which will come into effect at the next Council elections in October this year,” Cr McLeish said.
The Diary will have more on this story in its mid-month bulletin and in the June edition of the Warrandyte Diary.
In the meantime, head to Manningham’s Your Say page
to have your say on what our nine new wards are to be named.
Submissions will close at 12noon on Thursday 21 May 2020.