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Monday, 19 October 2015
Page: 11542

Mr IRONS (Swan) (13:31): On Saturday, local government elections were held across Western Australia, and I want to thank everyone who voted and participated in this important democratic process. The Towns Improvement Act 1838 was the first piece of legislation relating to local government in Western Australia. There are now 140 local governments across the state, including 29 in the Perth. In 1981 there were 1,396 elected members. This number was reduced to 1,382 in 2003, and in 2014 the number of councillors was further reduced to 1,214. Voting is not compulsory in local government elections in WA. Despite postal ballots being mailed to every voter over the last few weeks in WA, turnout was around 25 per cent in the state. It is interesting that Australia's states are split on compulsory voting in local government elections. Non-compulsory states are WA, Tasmania and South Australia. Compulsory states are New South Wales, Victoria, Northern Territory and Queensland. The ACT does not hold local government elections.

One of the highlights of these elections in WA was the return to an elected council for the City of Canning in my electorate of Swan. The City of Canning was suspended on 27 November 2012, following the recommendation of a departmental inquiry report into the council. A full council was elected on Saturday night, and there was a large field of candidates and a relatively high turnout from voters. Eleven candidates stood for mayor. Each ward elected two councillors, with 45 people standing in five wards. I thank the people across WA who voted and all those who participated in this process.