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Shire of Harvey proposes to axe councillor representation on multiple committees and groups to reduce workload

Headshot of Sean Van Der Wielen
Sean Van Der WielenHarvey-Waroona Reporter
The Shire of Harvey council offices in Australind.
Camera IconThe Shire of Harvey council offices in Australind. Credit: Sean Van Der Wielen/Harvey-Waroona Reporter

The Shire of Harvey has proposed to axe councillor representation on 20 different committees, advisory groups and community boards in an effort to reduce workloads amid changes required as a result of the State’s local government reforms.

Under the reforms, the council will go from 13 elected members to 11 in October before losing another two elected members in late 2025.

The council agreed in December to have councillor workloads reviewed to recognise the upcoming reduction in numbers, with the proposed changes put to elected members on May 23.

As it currently stands, the council has five statutory committees, 12 partnership committees, 23 delegate committees and 23 advisory groups.

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While no changes are proposed to the statutory committees due to their requirements by State Government legislation, representation cuts are proposed for all other categories.

Harvey Shire president Paul Gillett said the review recognised there were some groups and organisations where it may be better to not have council representation.

“I think it is good to have representation on some committees and have others where they have a bit of breathing room,” he said.

The Shire of Harvey has suggested council staff continue their presence on three partnership committees but the elected member delegation be withdrawn.

The three committees being considered for the changes are the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Harvey River Restoration Taskforce and the mosquito control-focused Leschenault Contiguous Local Authority Group.

A Wisdom Council advisory group, which was only created by the council in September and has not met due to a lack of interest, is proposed to be axed along with the Leschenault Leisure Centre advisory group.

The Harvey Recreation and Cultural Centre, arts and culture, early years and library advisory groups would have elected member appointments removed.

Some of the biggest changes will occur amongst the delegate committees, with 11 of the 23 organisations on track to lose council representation.

Those groups which could be impacted include the Harvey mainstreet committee, Binningup Youth Camp committee, Australind’s Riverlinks Child Care, aged care provider Morrisey Homestead and the Harvey Community Resource Centre.

Mr Gillett said there had been a perception in the past of community groups needing a councillor on their boards in case there were issues or problems, but that may no longer be necessary.

The Shire of Harvey will now request feedback from the impacted groups and organisations during a 60-day consultation process, before another report on the issue comes to the council in August.

Mr Gillett does not expect many issues to be raised during the consultation period.

“I think the public are pretty well aware of the council’s work and I think the council has a pretty open-door policy,” he said.

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