Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Call for Council Ward System; Another Option for Tweed Shire

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Call for Council Ward System; Another Option for Tweed Shire

Article excerpt

Byline: Aisling Brennan

CALLS are afoot for the Tweed Shire Council to move towards a ward-based system, with some residents claiming they would be better represented if a specific councillor represented their area.

The call has been made as the Tweed prepares to head to the polls on October 29 to elect a new council.

Founder and former president of the Tweed Heads Historical Society, Warren Keats said council should operate under a ward system, where council is divided into electorates represented by an equal number of councillors.

Mr Keats said having a ward system in place would ensure each area of the Tweed would be properly represented in council.

"I've got nobody here in Tweed Heads who I can refer to directly if I have a problem," Mr Keats said.

"Our councillors have a big area to cover and if they're all from somewhere else, they don't know the history of Tweed Heads."

Referring to the relocation of the Tweed Maritime Museum without notifying the historical society of the reasons for moving the exhibits to Murwillumbah, Mr Keats said if a ward system was in place, more open communication about issues effecting each region would be achieved.

"This would not have occurred if we had a ward system, we could have approached our councillor directly as opposed to having a round-about process going to council, and not one individual," he said.

"A referendum should be held after this election at the next election where both sides can explain to the people the pros and cons of a ward system."

Tweed Heads resident Terry Sharples agreed, saying a ward system would ensure better representation on council, particularly for candidates not supported by the major parties.

"It robs the community of the local element in local government," Mr Sharples said. "Under our system at the moment we've got to have the resources of a major party to compete. The chances of you actually winning a spot are very low because you don't have the recognition, you don't have the troops to man the booths. …

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