City of Belmont (COB) electors will for the first time directly elect their mayor at the next local government elections on Saturday, 21 October this year.
And live streaming of council meetings will soon be mandatory.
Up until now, Belmont has been a closed shop – with a mayor chosen by their eight councillor colleagues. However, the first tranche of major State Government reforms will change all that.
The city council has already moved to accommodate the looming mayoral change by proposing the city be divided into four wards, rather than three, with two councillors representing each ward rather than three. The change maintains the status quo with a total of nine members.
“The first tranche of local government reforms recently introduced to Parliament include a range of measures that improve the transparency of how our local councils operate,” Local Government Minister John Carey told Southern Chronicles. “In the long term, this will provide greater cost savings to residents and ratepayers.
“We’re also making it easier for locals to engage with their council by mandating live streaming or recording of all council meetings across the State and ensuring councillor votes are now clearly recorded.
“I’m aware the City of Belmont has been opposed to live streaming of council meetings, citing an increased risk to staff, councillors and community.
“It’s important people feel safe at the workplace or attending council meetings, but I completely reject the suggestion that live streaming council meetings would make them less safe.
“I’ve been very clear - live streaming of council meetings is a simple and effective way to increase transparency and community engagement with councils.
“Further to this, our reforms will ensure City of Belmont residents and ratepayers have a clear line of sight to who leads their local government – with the introduction of a popularly elected mayor.
“The State Government is continuing to work to implement the first tranche of electoral reforms ahead of the October 2023 Ordinary Elections.”
Sources at the Town of Victoria Park (ToVP) said the reforms will have no impact on the council, because its mayor has been chosen by electors since the town was established in 1994 and council meetings have been livestreamed since 2019.
They said the Minister has already advised the town that no change is required to the number of councillors or wards.
As of January 2023:
The City of Belmont has 27,014 electors on the rolls.
The Town of Victoria Park has 23,977 electors.
These are generally residents who are on the State electoral roll or non-resident owners or occupiers of rateable COB or ToVP property. (Story: John Arthur)