Power to the people as Coorong district election rules change

Ratepayers, not councillors, will choose the Coorong's next mayor, among other changes approved by the community.

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The Coorong district’s next mayor will be elected by ratepayers, not hand-picked by councillors.

A community poll has shown residents firmly in favour of three changes to local election rules.

The changes, approved by councillors late last month, will include:

  • Direct election of the mayor by voters

  • Abolition of the council’s three wards

  • A reduction in the number of councillors

After the next election, due in November 2022, the council will be made up of a mayor and seven councillors, down from eight.

Those councillors will be chosen from across the district instead of representing just the Mallee, Parks or Lakes wards.

That last change will sweep away the last reminders of the Peake, Coonalpyn Downs and Meningie councils, which were amalgamated into one in 1997.

Out of the almost 1200 people who voted in the poll, about 80 per cent were in favour of the changes.

Mayor Paul Simmonds said he looked forward to the new governance model.

He encouraged people from all corners of the district to run for election to the council to ensure their communities would be represented.

However, he declined to comment on whether he would seek to become the Coorong’s first popularly elected mayor at next year’s poll.

“I’ll consider my position in due course,” he said.

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