Local Government Representation Reviews In Victoria

Representation reviews for a number a local government areas are currently being conducted by the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC). They’re important because they are your chance to comment on the type of representation model you’d like to see for your municipality. Unfortunately representation reviews are not matters that get a lot of media coverage, or necessarily blog coverage either.

The current reviews being undertaken by the VEC are:

While the range of municipalities is diverse, including some of the first public submissions, the two I’ll touch on will be Brimbank City Council and Maribyrnong City Council.


Brimbank is one of the geographically largest municipalities in Melbourne. It covers suburbs like Sunshine, St Albans, Deer Park, Taylors Lakes, Kings Park, Ardeer and Keilor. The municipality has a very ethnically diverse population.

Every four years, voters go to the polls to elect eleven (11) councillors from four (4) wards. This results in a representation model of three wards that return three councillors and one ward returning two councillors.

There were a number of options put forward by the Electoral Commission for residents to consider, including returning to . They held public consultation sessions to explain the review and the models being considered; and how people could make a submission.

The Electoral Commission has issued a preliminary reporting recommending that the current model remains in place. There were a couple of submissions that advocated a return to single-member wards. On the whole submissions mostly focused on the problems that resulted in the former Council being sacked and administrators being installed.

I’d like to see the current structure remain in place. It provides the best opportunity to have different voices represented on Council, reflecting the diversity of the municipality. It also makes sure that it better reflects the size and very different needs and issues across the municipality.

Should the current representation model (and ward boundaries) remain in place it gives the Greens a better chance of securing a seat in Harvester ward.  The biggest challenge for the voters of Brimbank is to be able to distinguish between real and dummy candidates.

Responses to the preliminary report are due 28 September. Full details here.


Maribyrnong is not as large as Brimbank but does cover a diverse ethnic community. It includes suburbs like Footscray, Yarraville, Seddon, Maribyrnong and Braybrook.

All municipalities in Victoria go to the polls at the same time with four-year-fixed terms. Voters in the municipality go to the polls to elect seven councillors (seven single-member ward).

Unfortunately the Electoral Commission has recommended continuing with the current representation model. This is despite the submissions suggesting a strong preference for multi-member wards. It is arguable that given the diversity of the municipality, a multi-member model may result in councillors being elected that better reflects this diversity.

The status quo being recommended by the Electoral Commission makes it very difficult for minor parties’ candidates and genuine independents for being elected. As it stands the Council is utterly dominated by the Labor Party.

Responses to the preliminary report are due 28 September. Full details here.

A final few words

If you live in one of the municipalities mentioned earlier, now is the chance to have your say on the representation model for your municipality. You don’t have to be an expert and the Commission welcomes hearing which options voters prefer.

  1. 1 Maribyrnong City Council Representation Review « Alex Schlotzer

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