Reforms that will reduce the number of elected representatives guiding the City of Albany from 13 to nine were formally introduced to State Parliament last week. The Local Government Amendment Bill 2023 was introduced to the Lower House on Thursday following a long period of consultation with the local government sector, which is ongoing. WA Local Government Association president Karen Chappel said a number of changes to the initial proposed legislation had been successfully advocated for. “Overall, the local government reform package will modernise the local government sector and reduce unnecessary red tape, which is ultimately beneficial for ratepayers in all communities,” she said. Local Government Minister John Carey has touted the reforms as “the most significant” in the sector for more than 25 years. “Our reform agenda is clear, we are strengthening the transparency, accountability and efficiency of local governments, and this set of electoral reforms will enable fairer local democracy and community engagement,” he said. “I would like to recognise and thank all the local governments who have been working to complete ward and representation reviews and changing the size or structure of their council in a proactive manner.” The most notable impact the reforms will have on the City of Albany will be the reduction in councillors. The Bill stipulates local government areas with a population between 5000 and 75,000 will be limited to having between five and nine elected members, including a popularly elected Mayor. The reduction will be phased in over the next two ordinary local government elections. A council of 11 will be formed following this year’s LGA election in October until the next ordinary election in 2025 where it will be reduced further to nine elected members. In preparation for incoming changes the City carried out a ward and representation review which was finalised in December with councillors voting to abolish its ward system. The Shire of Denmark will lose its ward system align with the Bill which stipulates they are no longer permitted for lower tier local governments. Another change included in the Bill will require City of Albany meetings to be live-streamed, while smaller LGAs — including the Shires of Denmark and Plantagenet — will be required to provide recordings of their meetings.