Wimmera voters left without choice as wards uncontested

Uncontested wards throughout the Wimmera have left residents without a choice of representatives.

Uncontested wards throughout the Wimmera have left residents without a choice of representatives.

RURAL voters are struggling for choice, with many wards throughout the Wimmera uncontested. 

Five wards from Wimmera shires are uncontested this year, with incumbent or new councillors automatically elected to the representative positions.

Residents in three of the Northern Grampians’ four wards have no choice of representatives.

The shire’s Kara Kara, centred on St Arnaud, the south-west ward covering Halls Gap and the central ward will all be uncontested. 

Municipal Association of Victoria chief executive Rob Spence said while the lack of competition in some instances represented confidence in local government, the lack of nominations was concerning.

“Our overriding principle is we want to see effective elections occur,” Mr Spence said.  

“It’s a difficult proposition in rural Victoria where communities know each other much better than metro councils, and as a consequence you do get uncontested seats because of a level of respect for what people are doing.”

In Buloke Shire, Donald will be represented by Daryl Warren, Brendan Beasley and Carolyn Stewart in the three uncontested Mount Jeffcott ward seats.

Hindmarsh Shire Council has one ward uncontested, with two positions already filled without competition. 

Hindmarsh Mayor Debra Nelson will run against Cr Tony Schneider, Clifford Unger and Mary Clarke for the two east ward positions.  

Prior to candidate announcements, Cr Nelson said she hoped all wards would be contested come local government elections on October 22. 

“The community probably feels more connected if it has a say rather than when people go unopposed,” she said.

“For me, I believe the community put me here and I do everything I can to represent them well because there’s that extra onus. 

“Unopposed, I’m not sure there’d be the same satisfaction of having been chosen and maybe not the same buy in.”

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