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Time for motivated residents to nominate to represent Ipswich community

Roll up, roll up … it is now time for motivated residents to nominate to represent the Ipswich community on the Ipswich City Council.

The Queensland Government has confirmed the divisional boundaries which will see Ipswich City Council represented by a mayor and eight councillors after the March 2020 local government elections.

It is only five months until polling day on 28 March and the perfect time to declare a run for the city’s mayoralty or one of the eight councillor roles.

Interim Administrator Greg Chemello, who will leave his current role after the elections, welcomed the final determination of the Local Government Change Commission, released on Friday.

“The commission has determined Ipswich should be divided into four multi-member divisions with two councillors representing each division” he said.

“The boundaries have been drawn and everyone knows where they stand now. In my view, it is time for those people in the Ipswich community who are seriously considering putting their name into the ring to finalise whether they do want to represent this proud city.”

“A handful of candidates have put their names forward already and it is important that Ipswich has a good cross-section of representatives – from the business community, various clubs and organisations, non-government groups, mums and dads, our city’s youth.”

The commission received a number of submissions into the proposed changes and seriously considered all suggestions, but went with the options proposed from its initial review and report in July.

The almost 50,000 voters in Ipswich were contacted by the commission via email, with 79 comments received.

“In reviewing the proposed change for the Ipswich City Council, the Change Commission was cognisant that it represents a significant alteration to the long-standing electoral arrangements.

“The Change Commission determined that while both single-member and multi-member divisions provide the community-specific representation that is important to Ipswich residents, multi-member divisions are more likely to meet all the criteria.

“The Change Commission also noted that multi-member divisions provide greater scope to have more councillors representing rural areas within the council area, offering the opportunity for more inclusive representation and engagement with the community. The Change Commission considers this relevant given its awareness that a key community concern in the region is a perceived lack of rural representation under the current arrangements.”

“The Change Commission is satisfied the final boundaries meet the enrolment requirements of the Act, unite suburbs within individual divisions where practicable, and balance the number of representatives responsible for rural and urban areas as evenly as possible in keeping with community sentiment.”

It also recommended council conduct a mid-term review and community consultation in 2022 to gauge residents’ experiences and satisfaction with the multi-member arrangement and divisional boundaries ahead of the 2024 local government elections. One of the reasons given was Ipswich’s “high-level anticipated growth” and the possible need for more representation.

The final determination report is available here.

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