Changes to the Local Government Electoral Act designed to make council elections simpler and cheaper have been introduced to the Queensland Parliament.
Local Government Minister David Crisafulli said the Local Government and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2014 delivered on the Government’s strong plan to slash red tape and empower mayors and councillors.
“The Newman Government believes local councils are best placed to make the right decisions for their communities,” Mr Crisafulli said.
“One of the biggest complaints coming out of the 2012 council elections was the lack of local knowledge shown at polling booths.
“Under the proposed changes, a council could choose to use its own Chief Executive Officer, who understands the area, to run the election.
“This would save councils money by allowing them to choose affordable polling stations and use local staff.”
The CEO would be required to submit an election plan to the ECQ that included details of the staff to be appointed and the location of polling booths.
Mr Crisafulli said the ECQ would maintain overall responsibility for the election.
“We want people to cast their vote for their local representatives knowing the election is being run as efficiently and fairly as possible.”
Other significant changes include:
- Allowing the ECQ to declare the mayoral result independently of the election results for councillors
- Allowing voters to preference their choice for mayor in an undivided council
- Requiring candidates to register their how-to-vote cards with the ECQ
- Extending the postal vote option to all registered voters
- Introducing proof of identity to vote at polling booths to align with state requirements
- Increase the maximum penalty of 1 year imprisonment to 7 years imprisonment for giving false or misleading information to a Returning Officer or the ECQ