What is an Elector Representation Review?

    An Elector Representation Review is a process required every 8 years by the Local Government Act 1999 (S12, S26 & S33) which considers the composition of the Council and the advantages and disadvantages of various representation options.  A prescribed representation review must comprehensively examine all aspects of the composition of the Council, and the division or potential division of the Council area into wards. 

    The key areas for consideration are:

    • the principal member of Council (i.e. elected Mayor or selected Chairperson – noting the Statutes Amendment (Local Government Review) Bill 2020 provides that the role will be a Mayor);
    • the composition of Council;
    • the number of elected members required to adequately represent the community and perform the roles and responsibility of Council;
    • the division (or not) of the council area into wards;
    • the number of wards;
    • the level of representation and elector ratio within each ward;
    • ward names and
    • the Council name (if required)

    When did Council last undertake a Representative Review?

    Mount Barker District Council undertook its last representation review in 2012/2013 and came into effect at the periodic Local Government elections in November 2014.

    Councils in South Australia are required to undertake regular reviews of their elector representation arrangements, which is approximately every 8 years.

    What process does the review need to follow?

    The process for the Representation Review requires Council to undertake the following steps:

    • Initiate the preparation of a Representation Options Paper;
    • Conduct the first round of public consultation on the Options Paper for a minimum period of six (6) weeks;
    • Consider the submissions made during the first public consultation and prepare a Representation Review Report that details the representation arrangements Council favours, the reasons why and respond to issues raised during the first consultation;
    • Conduct the second round of public consultation, providing an opportunity for people making submissions on the Representation Review Report to be heard personally (or through a representative) by either the Council or a Committee of the Council. Consultation must be open for a minimum period of three (3) weeks with opportunities for verbal submissions to follow;
    • Adopt a representation structure;
    • Prepare the final Representation Review Report and submit to the Electoral Commissioner of South Australia (ECSA) to obtain a certificate of compliance.; and
    • Place a notice in the Gazette providing for the operation of any proposal in the final Review Report for which the ECSA has provided a certificate of compliance.

    Any changes as a result of the Representation Review will take effect for the next general elections to be held in November 2022.

    For a summary, refer to the document Steps in an Elector Representation Review

    What is the existing composition of Council?

    The council area is currently divided into three wards, with the North Ward and the Central Ward both being represented by four councillors; and the South Ward being represented by two councillors making a total of ten councillors. The Mayor is the eleventh and principal member of Council.

    What matters are taken into account in the Review?

    Council is required to take the following matters into account in conducting the Representation Review:

    • Demographic trends;
    • Population data and projections;
    • Communities of interest; and
    • Elector representation and ward quotas.

    What if I don't agree with Council's preferred position?

    Whilst the draft Periodical Elector Representation Review Report represents Council’s current position for the future Council structure and composition (following the extensive process to date) no final decision in respect to Council’s future composition and/or structure will be made until consideration has been given to any and all public submissions which may be received during this second public consultation phase.

    What about the Statutes Amendment (Local Government Review) Bill 2020?

    The review needs to be mindful of the potential ramifications of the Statutes Amendment (Local Government Review) Bill 2020 which was introduced to State parliament in June 2020.

    This Bill seeks to amend the provisions of the Local Government Act (the Act), including matters relating to the composition of councils and the elector representation review process.

    The Bill seeks to:

    • cap the number of elected members (including the Mayor) at twelve (12);
    • abolish the appointment of a principal member of Council by the elected members (i.e. a Chairperson); and
    • introduce a new abridged process which incorporates the preparation/provision of only one report (for public consultation purposes) and only one public consultation stage.

    The potential changes to the Act are being taken into consideration as Council progresses through the current review.