Council Election.
Council Election. Bev Lacey

Community will pay price for proposed electoral changes

THE good thing about Robyn Deane's letter 'Little off the mark' (Daily, March 16) is that it is helping to achieve my objective of raising greater awareness within our community of the legislative changes the Queensland Government is proposing to make to the local government electoral system.

These changes are largely unknown to our community.

In fact, when I questioned Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe last week on who in our community he had been consulting, he could not give me a clear answer.

Changes to the local government electoral system are something that our whole community should be aware of and on which they should have input.

Electoral arrangements and voting systems are not the plaything of ministers and sectional interest groups to be developed behind closed doors - which has largely been what has happened to date.

I thought the Fitzgerald Inquiry some years ago made that perfectly clear.

This is particularly the case when no one so far - including the minister - can demonstrate to councillors or the community that there is any problem with the current voting system, which has been in place since the early 1990s and was recommended by the independent Electoral and Administrative Review Commission.

It is also important that our community understands that if the Minister gets his way, our community - yes, every ratepayer -will be paying for candidates' campaigns at the next council elections.

We have already calculated this will be a cost of over $400,000 on the Sunshine Coast, based on the number of candidates who contested the 2016 election.

This is on top of the $800,000 plus that ratepayers contribute to the Electoral Commission to conduct the election.

So good on you Robyn - you are helping me to shine a light on what I believe are significant changes proposed to local government.

This is the only mandate I have and make no apologies for building greater awareness within our community.


Sunshine Coast Council

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