Nannup Shire president Tony Dean said he is confident his council would continue to operate well under the State Government’s proposed reforms to the structure of local governments. Under the proposed changes, across WA any Shire with fewer than 5000 people could see seats to their local councils reduced to five. Cr Dean said the change to five seats was not “concrete” and Minister for Local Government John Carey was also considering a change of five to seven seats. The potential reform would still see the Nannup Shire lose between one and three seats on its eight-person council, however, Cr Dean said his Shire would cope well with any changes. “The minister gave an undertaking that that figure of five is not fixed and he was suggesting between a figure of five and seven which is good,” he said. “Yeah so the figure of five is not set in concrete. It is a starting point and he realises the difficulties in rural communities particularly with no wards where five just would not be adequate.” Another proposed change would see the electoral ward system disbanded across the State which Cr Dean said was already well under way in the South West. Nannup has a North and South ward within the Shire but Cr Dean said a person elected to the council represented all of the residents and not just the ones who voted for them. “That is one of the proposals (to disband the ward system),” he said. “There are very few councils in the South West with wards now, it is something we can deal with. “We are put on council to represent the whole of the Shire and not just a ward, so it won’t be all that different.” The six key themes for the State Government’s local government proposals include earlier intervention, effective regulation and stronger penalties, reducing red tape, increasing consistency and simplicity and greater transparency and accountability. As well as stronger local democracy and community engagement, clear roles and responsibilities and improved financial management and reporting. Both the population and ward amendments relate to the stronger local democracy and community engagement bracket. Cr Dean said the proposed changes to local government were a “work in progress” with the final submissions in the public consultation period due before the end of February.