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Shire of Harvey votes to remove councillor representation on multiple committees following review

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

The Shire of Harvey has voted to take the axe to councillor workloads as it braces for incoming local government reforms.

With the council being forced by the State Government to axe two elected member positions in October and another two in late 2025, it will scrap councillor representation on 16 advisory groups and non-council committees despite protests by some of those impacted.

As part of the changes, the Shire’s arts and culture, early years and library advisory groups will be merged into one, while the wisdom council advisory group created late last year will be axed after it received “no interest” from the community.

But the biggest impact will be on 10 community organisations which have had a councillor on their committee or boards.

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While a number of groups including the Uduc Progress Association, Riverlinks Child Care and Morrissey Homestead were supportive of council representation being removed, others including the Harvey Community Resource Centre and Leschenault Progress Association raised concerns.

Cr Robyn Coleman unsuccessfully moved to keep elected member representation for both organisations following their objections, with the vote lost 3-9.

Cr Amanda Lovitt spoke against maintaining representation within the two groups, stating they had the ability to provide members and feedback to council advisory groups.

“They can play a part in and get greater influence and benefits for their association by having a multi-pronged approach to their interactions with council,” she said.

“That’s why we step up our advisory groups so that all of these groups could come together, share knowledge and share resources with each other.”

Cr John Bromham said the reduction of elected members would make it “an imposition” on future councillors if they had to maintain current levels of service to the community.

“This isn’t the result of councillors of course, this is a result of the State Government providing us with council numbers that we didn’t agree with but have to comply with,” he said.

The only group which was successful in reversing the council’s plans was the Harvey Recreation and Cultural Centre advisory group, which was initially set to lose its three councillors.

Vice chair Dean Pfitzner told the council the proposal needed to be “strongly reconsidered”.

“The advisory group is unanimous in its support of maintaining councillor representation as it is seen as vital to the ongoing success (of the HRCC),” he said.

It will retain one elected member on the advisory group, while Harvey Community Radio and the Harvey Senior Citizens Centre will get a temporary reprieve on their councillor representation being axed until major projects by both organisations have been completed.

The final decision was carried 11-1, with Cr Coleman the dissenting vote.

The changes will come into effect on October 1.

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