Council elections in October

COUNCILLOR elections will take place through a postal ballot during the month of October this year, but this time around there have been some changes to the voting process.

Following last year’s Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) Electoral Representation review of ward subdivisions for Wellington Shire Council, the electoral structure will change to consist of three, three-councillor wards.

The three wards are the northern ward, the coastal ward, and the central ward, with each providing separate representation through three elected councillors respectively.

The northern ward will encompass Maffra, Heyfield, Rosedale, Stratford, Briagolong and Dargo.

The coastal ward will consist of Yarram, Port Albert, Woodside, Seaspray, Golden Beach and Loch Sport.

The central ward will include Sale, Longford and the Lake Wellington region.

The review found that through both stages of written submissions and at the public hearing, many responders “expressed a perception that Sale was being disproportionately favoured over other distinct communities in the council’s decision making”.

After receiving 46 submissions arguing that a subdivided council would increase direct accountability of councillors, and would be more effective as local councillors would know local issues, the VEC moved that the local wards would respond to strong sentiment expressed reflecting geographic and social communities of interest in the shire.

A Wellington Shire Council spokesperson expects there will be quite a few newcomers to the race, given the excellent turnout from across the municipality at the recent candidate information session.

The shire spokesperson reminded residents that it is always important for voters to carefully consider who they are choosing to vote for in any election, as it is their chance to actively participate in the democratic process and shape the future of the shire.

Mayor Darren McCubbin will be running again, stating that the next few years are likely to be a very exciting time for Wellington, and that he would like to be a part of it.

“The building of the new Wellington Cultural Hub including the library, visitor information centre and Art Gallery will be the biggest infrastructure project in our history and I want it to happen right,” Cr McCubbin said.

“There are some continued developments I would like to see at the Botanic Gardens including collaboration with Bug Blitz and the community garden, locking in some of the new developments in Longford and much more.”

The mayor encourages as many people as possible to put their hands up for the election.

“It is a tremendous honour and privilege to represent the Wellington Shire, we are a good and stable government,” Cr McCubbin said.

“Local government is the closest to the people, accessible and very important in the delivery and advocacy of services.

“We need a strong, strategic and compassionate council that truly represents (residents’) aspirations. Voting is a responsibility that we should all take seriously as we have to get it right.”

Cr McCubbin shared his trepidation of the new wards system, fearing it will “lead to petty parish politics”, but embraces the change and assured the Gippsland Times he looks forward to working within the new structure.

A map of the wards is available online.