What is a representation review and why should you care?

By Krushnadevsinh Ravalji – VEC Democracy Ambassador

So, what is a Representation Review?

It is a process where the VEC reviews the electoral structure of councils. This means we look at whether the number of councillors needs to increase or decrease, and whether the councillors should be elected ‘at large’ by the whole council area or divided into smaller areas called ‘wards’.

If we think the council should be divided into wards, we then think about how many wards there should be, how big/small the wards are and how many councillors should represent each ward.

The aim is to make sure that all voters in a local council are fairly represented. A review happens for each local council approximately every 12 years.

How can the community get involved?

A huge part of the review is that the VEC accepts submissions from the locals!

So, you can submit your thoughts and preferences and make your voice count – literally!

There are three stages where you can get involved – writing a preliminary submission, writing a response submission, and speaking at a public hearing.

Your voice will provide us with valuable local knowledge and perspectives.

Why should you care?

Without your input, your local council might not meet your needs. You may have special interests – such as belonging to a community group or sports club – and want to make sure your local council has the right structure to listen to you.

Also, there are benefits and disadvantages to different council structures.

For example, with an unsubdivided council, a potential positive is that residents have a wider choice of councillors to approach regarding issues, while a potential downfall is that it may not provide dedicated representation for communities and points of view.

For more potential advantages and disadvantages, check out our submission guide.

So that’s what a representation review is in a nutshell, and why it’s important for you to get involved in this process!

OK, sounds good. What councils are being reviewed right now?

At the moment, the councils we’re reviewing are:

  • Hepburn Shire Council
  • Mansfield Shire Council
  • Northern Grampians Shire Council
  • Cardinia Shire Council
  • Casey City Council
  • Mitchell Shire Council
  • Whittlesea City Council.

You can write a submission to the VEC through the Representation Review page on our website.

Photo of Trentham Falls

Trentham Falls in Hepburn Shire