Local government luck of the draw. THE push for the Shire ofBusselton to become a City came from council at a great financial cost, not thecommunity and it came with promises of greater prosperity for all including newindustries and businesses which has not occurred.

Behind the scenes however,the council was aware of impending new and generous allowance scales whichwould benefit councillors if they were governing a City rather than a ruralshire.

The increases were to mymind essential for WA had fallen behind other states but more importantly,something had to be done to attract more and better qualified people’s interestin becoming a councillor. It hasdone that for we have seen twelve aspirants who seek to find a place on thecouncil.

To my mind however, thesystem we presently use to obtain and elect councillors still has not changedand it is still a popularity contest to see who is successful. Any other jobwith allowances such as what councillors now receive would have real dutystatements, business standards, qualification requirements, experiencecomparisons etc together with appropriate interviews yet to be a councillor oneonly needs to be over 18 years of age, is an elector of the district andreceives the most votes.

The only details that thevoters ever know about councillor aspirants is what they reveal in the votingpaper and whatever the local papers glean out or what a candidate provides inhandouts or public meeting if there is any. The question could be, were theaspirants attracted to the dollars or were they moved to bring knowledge andabilities to enhance the council?

In general we elect people,usually men, without knowing their qualification both educational and business,their life experience, their ability to work in a group setting, to communicatewithin council and with the community, are competent, etc.

History demonstrates timeand time again that councils have divisions, power groups, political leanings, incompetentmembers and people unable to fulfil the dynamic and sometimes a frustratingroll which generally never attracts kind comment or community thanks for theirefforts.

My comments are not meantto demean new and existing councillors for they may all be suitably qualifiedin every sense of the meaning but I don’t know if they are or not and as theywill be making decisions that will impact upon my family, is why I raise thisissue.

Until elections for localgovernment, which is a business, is changed, the same process will continue butfor those who will be elected, congratulations and the best of luck for thecoming four years for you will have been fortunate to win the lucky dip.

John Wilkins


This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

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