Important question to answer on election day How many councillors?

30th Nov 2021

An important constitutional referendum will be held in conjunction with this year’s local government election that will require the community to vote whether or not the number of councillors for Armidale Regional Council should be reduced from eleven to nine. Any changes won’t come into effect until the 2024 election.
There are a number of important factors to consider when voting for or against this question, so to help you make an informed decision, we have created a list of pros and cons for your consideration.
Reasons for reducing the number of councillors:
• Savings of $49,620 per annum (the fee per councillor is $24,810pa). 
• Reduced ongoing costs (minimum $10,000 per councillor for things such as phones and professional development).
• The current ratio of 1 councillor to 2,792 residents is high compared to other councils.
• Increased efficiency and effectiveness.
• Quality over quantity.
• Many regional councils with larger geographical areas only have nine councillors.
Reasons against reducing the number of councillors:
• Financial savings are a small price to pay to ensure good representation.
• Difficult for a small cohort to understand all of the key issues across such a large geographic area.
• May be difficult for nine councillors to support the current number of community advisory committees.
• Community access to councillors may be reduced.
• A larger number of councillors can provide a broader range of perspectives.
• Smaller numbers may lead to Council being controlled by political or self interest groups.
• May be more difficult for lesser known candidates to get elected.