FOR the first time in Stirling’s history the mayor will be elected by popular vote at next month’s council elections.
Previously the mayor was voted in by councillors, but this time residents will decided who presides over the largest council in WA.
The move is part of Stirling’s push to get more people voting; at the last local government election in 2017 Stirling had the highest voter enrolment in WA, but one of the lower participation rates at 32 per cent.
Stirling’s governance manager Jamie Blanchard says the council will be using the internet to lure younger voters.
“Data from the previous election cycle also indicated a low voter turnout for the 18-34 age group, so we are hoping our digital advertising campaign targeting this demographic will translate to more ballots lodged,” he said.
Stirling is one of the most culturally diverse local governments in Australia with about 45 per cent of its 210,000 residents born overseas.
“To capture this diverse audience, Stirling has increased ‘how-to-vote’ signage in areas with multicultural communities as well as increasing the amount signage displayed throughout the city”, Mr Blanchard said.
“The city also worked with the local Indigenous community, as part of its Reconciliation Action Plan, to increase engagement by the Aboriginal community in the city’s democratic processes.”
WA council elections will be held on Saturday October 19.
Polls close at 6pm.
• SANJEEV GUPTA says he represents “multiculturalism and a socially inclusive society who believe in the Australian attitude of [a] fair go for everyone”. A member of the Institute of Professional Accountants, he says he will bring “extensive knowledge of good governance, financial management and technological knowledge to account for every dollar spent. Adding that he is all about “restoring faith in local governance independence and integrity. I believe and will work towards an honest, independent, open, innovative, transparent, ethical, unbiased and accountable local government.”
• MARK IRWIN is the current mayor, and was born and raised in Stirling: “Under my leadership we‘ve delivered Stephenson Avenue, revitalised Scarborough, prioritised $100 million into community facilities and parks, increased security services, achieved the lowest ever rates increase and reduced bureaucratic red tape. During my term as mayor the city has thrived, [and been] awarded for accountability, transparency and incredible community projects. I’ll continue to listen and consult with community.”
• DAVID LAGAN is the current deputy mayor and an Inglewood ward councillor. “A leaner city spending less on staff and consultants and more on the community is my vision and my promise to the ratepayers of our city. My time as your deputy mayor for two terms has afforded me insight into the workings of our city and the way forward in these exciting times.”
• ADAM SPAGNOLO is an Osborne ward councillor and former Stirling mayor (1989-90, 1993-95). He says he is immune from party politics: “I live and work in the area and have no affiliation with any political party or council faction. I have a young family and am focused on better service to our community, reducing red tape, bringing power back to the people, reducing rates, community safety and increased security. Seniors, our aged and sporting clubs, maintaining a sustainable environment and a culture change are also high up on my agenda.”
• TERRY TYZACK is a former Stirling mayor (1984-86, 2005-07) and veteran councillor. “Stirling’s debt-free strategy, initiated during my previous mayoral term, has enabled Stirling to manage global financial crises without impost on ratepayers. However, ongoing sound financial management is essential for the protection of Stirling’s strong position. My focus, if elected, will be on protecting residential amenity by listening and responding to community feedback, ensuring council activities deliver sustainable benefits, improving customer service levels.”
• ELIZABETH RE is a passionate Doubleview ward councillor who has strong ties to the community. She believes in “putting the community first and the importance of financial transparency and accountability aligned with improved consultation and community involvement in all aspects of council’s decision making”. Cr Re has lived in the city for most of her life and is “passionate and committed to listening” as well as keeping the city to account.