Ipswich City Council interim administrator Greg Chemello with the Divisional Boundary Review Community Discussion Paper.
Ipswich City Council interim administrator Greg Chemello with the Divisional Boundary Review Community Discussion Paper. Rob Williams

Chemello looks forward: 'Boundary change not about the past'

NOW is your chance to have a say on the most significant councillor shake-up in two decades, with Ipswich City Council releasing its long-awaited divisional boundary review.

The review discussion paper has been released to the community for public feedback.

The eight-page paper offers the most comprehensive change to council boundaries since amalgamation in 1995.

Residents are given three options and encouraged to have their say about how the council will be represented at the March 2020 elections and beyond.

Ipswich administrator Greg Chemello said the discussion paper offered three options on divisional boundaries for consideration, with each model resulting in a minimum of eight councillors and maximum of 12 councillors being elected.

The community's views will be submitted to Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe before a proposal is sent to the Local Government Change Commission.

Mr Chemello said now was a good time to reflect on the make-up of the community's desired representation.

He said the review came after some residents voiced strong thoughts to him.

The options for residents are: An undivided council (councillors elected to represent the whole city); Divided, one councillor per division (eight to 12 divisions) or; Divided, two or three councillors per division (four to six divisions).

The community will have until 12pm on March 31 to fill out the survey.

"Consider and debate how you would like to be represented by your future Ipswich council in 2020 and beyond," Mr Chemello said.

"Would you prefer your councillors to be elected on a divisional basis or across the entirety of the local government area?"

Mr Chemello said he had no view on what would be best.

The discussion paper outlines the role of a councillor; which Mr Chemello said was not to take complaints about potholes or footpaths.

"The role of a councillor is strategic leadership of the council, setting the policies of the council," he said.

Mr Chemello said the review was not about making it difficult for previous councillors to be elected in their old areas.

"It's not about individuals and it's certainly not about past individuals," he said.

"It's about creating for the future group of councillors elected in 13 months time."

Ipswich City Council CEO David Farmer has worked under all three models.

He said all had pros and cons and it would be up to the community to have its say.

The survey result will not be binding, with the state government given final say on the council's boundaries.

"Our job is get to the state really clear articulated views about what the community wants," Mr Chemello said.

"I didn't seek the minister's permission to do this and I'm not under any ministerial direction to do this."

"We'll be suggesting what the community says the state ought to listen very carefully to."

THE PROS AND CONS*

Option one: Undivided with eight to 12 councillors

Advantage: Delivers a more unified, citywide, strategic focus to governance.

Disadvantage: Risk most councillors will be elected from a single part of the area and some communities could be unrepresented.

Option two: One councillor each in up to 12 divisions

Advantage: Encourages a diverse range of candidates to run for council as they only have to incur electoral campaign costs for a division.

Disadvantage: Councillors might be elected on local, minor, issues and lack perspective on or offer less support for policies that benefit the whole council.

Option three: Two or three councillors in up to six divisions

Advantage: Supports representation of different interests in a division.

Disadvantage: Groups may come together along interest lines, leading to issues between divisional councillors

Have your say by visiting www.ipswich.qld.gov.au/shapeyourcouncil.

A hard-copy survey will be available at the council's facilities.

For more information phone 3810 6666.

*A sample taken from Ipswich City Council's discussion paper.