Changes to Campaspe Shire’s electoral structure

Unsubdivided: The new Campaspe Shire Council. Photo: Supplied

Campaspe Shire will change from its existing five-ward structure to an unsubdivided shire, with all nine elected council members representing the whole municipality.

The Echuca, Western, Rochester, Kyabram-Deakin and Waranga wards will be disbanded at the local government election in October.

The electoral changes were based on feedback from constituents to an independent electoral structure review panel appointed by Victorian Local Government Minister Melissa Horne.

Ms Horne said the Electoral Representation Advisory Panels had delivered thorough work over an extensive period to ensure that Victorian councils would be set up to effectively represent their communities.

“These new ward boundaries will be in place for the local government elections this year — an important step in our work to reform local government and meet the expectations of communities right across Victoria,” she said.

Campaspe Shire Council chief executive Pauline Gordon said the panel had considered the shire’s history of uncontested elections and low candidate numbers for single-councillor wards under the current structure.

“Their recommendation concluded that an unsubdivided structure would remove the risk of uncontested elections, provide a greater selection of candidates for voters and could also encourage a more diverse council,” Ms Gordon said.

Of the three models identified in a preliminary report, the panel considered an unsubdivided structure to be the best model for promoting fair and equitable representation for voters in Campaspe Shire, and consequently facilitate good governance under the requirements of the Local Government Act 2020.

The changes follow the review of 39 local councils during 2023-24 by an independent electoral representation advisory panel where residents were invited to participate and provide feedback on the structure of wards and whether they thought councils had an appropriate number of councillors.