Big changes in the works for local elections
SWEEPING changes to local elections and councillor powers will be met with stiff resistance from Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie.
Enacting compulsory preferential voting, installing proportional representation and limiting the influence councillors have in hiring senior staff are some of the measures put forward by the Queensland Government.
Others include caps on campaign spending and the money third party interest groups outlay during elections.
At a meeting today the council will vote on recommendations that Cr Dobie and Cr Jo McNally will take to a Local Government Association of Queensland general meeting on April 2.
At the meeting mayors and councillors from across Queensland will have a second vote and the LGAQ will present their recommendations to parliament.
Cr Dobie will resist taking the authority to hire senior staff away from elected leaders.
"The State Government refers to theses changes as reforms but when I look at them they are taking away even further the responsibility elected officials have and transferring them to the CEO,” she said
"I see it as taking away the independence of local government.”
She also thinks compulsory preferential voting is a bad.
"What it does is confuse the election for voters,” she said
"If we look back at the last election, something like 23per cent of electors didn't vote and there was a higher percentage of the informal votes.
"If elections are complicated we are going to get a higher number of informal votes.”
In a separate matter, the council will vote on breaking the Southern Downs into divisions, with each councillor representing a geographic block.
Cr Dobie has pushed for this since she was elected.
"Residents like to know who they can go to locally for any issues that have, but we'll have to see how the council votes,” she said.