Shire shake-up claims three

Augusta Margaret River Times - - News - War­ren Hately

Three sit­ting coun­cil­lors have lost their posts, with vot­ers re­plac­ing them with all-fe­male re­cruits, while Shire pres­i­dent Ian Earl also won his seat de­spite quit­ting the pres­i­dency.

Cr Earl did not con­test Wed­nes­day night’s vote as an in­di­ca­tor of the changed make-up of the new Shire of Au­gusta-Mar­garet River Coun­cil, telling the Times be­fore the vote the num­bers were against him.

Mar­garet River Book­shop owner Pauline McLeod scored the high­est vote in the elec­tion — buoyed by her high com­mu­nity pro­file and the end of the Shire’s ward sys­tem — but will find her­self in a con­ser­va­tive mi­nor­ity be­cause of her strong busi­ness in­ter­ests, while new­com­ers Naomi God­den and Ju­lia Mel­drum were elected as part of a loose green-left coun­cil push.

With first-term coun­cil­lor and Brook­field res­i­dent Pam Town­shend elected Shire pres­i­dent, sup­ported by Au­gusta vet­eran Mike Smart, who nom­i­nated Cr Mel­drum for the deputy’s role, a work­ing al­liance with Crs Smart, God­den and Mel­drum will put a dif­fer­ent stamp on the coun­cil for the next two years. De­spite a slew of big is­sues dur­ing the past two years, no fresh com­mu­nity can­di­dates emerged, with Crs God­den and Mel­drum rep­re­sen­ta­tives for a wide ar­ray of ratepayer con­cerns.

The Shire’s spend­ing, in­clud­ing its staff bud­get, were key elec­tion is­sues re­flected in Crs God­den’s and Mel­drum’s polling.

Vot­ing fig­ures showed Cr McLeod led the pack with 2306 votes (15.35 per cent), fol­lowed closely by Cr God­den on 2152 (14.33 per cent) and Cr Mel­drum (1959 votes or 13.04 per cent).

Cr Earl nar­rowly beat Au­gusta mem­ber Kim Hastie by 0.08 per cent, 1863 votes to 1851.

For­mer City of Perth boss Frank Ed­wards im­proved his 2015 show­ing with 11.7 per cent of the vote, but in­cum­bents Kylie Ken­naugh and Felicity Haynes lagged in the race, with Dr Haynes’ sup­port base prov­ing un­sus­tain­able.

The Shire’s voter turnout was sim­i­lar to past years, with 35.2 per cent of elec­tion pack­ages re­turned.

The end of the ward sys­tem al­lowed all ratepay­ers to vote for four can­di­dates for the first time.

Au­gusta vot­ers ousted Au­gusta can­di­date Mr Hastie, but did choose can­di­dates backed by him and Cr Smart.

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