The Manjimup Shire has raised questions and concerns about several proposed local government reforms, including those surrounding election process and council size. The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries has proposed changes to the format of local governments all over WA under six broad categories. The six themes are earlier intervention, effective regulation and stronger penalties; reducing red tape, increasing consistency and simplicity; greater transparency and accountability; stronger local democracy and community engagement; clear roles and responsibilities and improved financial management and reporting. One area of concern for the Shire was proposed changes to equate council sizes with the population of the district. With just under 10,000 people living within the Shire and an 11-seat council, Manjimup would lose two representatives, which president Paul Omodei said could be damaging to democratic representation at the local government level. “We would lose two councillors which would make overall representation more difficult,” he said. “It may well mean that we just go to no wards which would mean the centre, Manjimup, could dominate council representation given the numbers.” Cr Omodei said the proposed changes would also see potential Shire presidents stand in separate elections rather than have council choose who would lead the district. He said this may lead to communication issues between the council and the ratepayers of an area. “(DLGSC) are going to mandate that band two councils the president or mayor will have to be elected at large,” he said. “There are some people that prefer the council to elect internally because if you are elected internally then you are bound by the policy whereas an external person may make statements that are not necessarily council policy.” The window for public comment and consultation on the proposed local government reforms is open until February 25.