Councillor Margaret Harris to retire from Barossa Council

Barossa councillor Margaret Harris to retire.

Barossa councillor Margaret Harris to retire.

The Barossa Council has joined the call from councils across SA for a greater diversity of candidates, including more women, in the upcoming council elections.

Nominations opened on September 4 and close midday on Tuesday, September 18.

Representing the sector is Local Government Association president Sue Clearihan who says councils recognise the need to have an elected body that closely reflects the composition of the their community.

“We are grateful for the service of everyone who puts their hand up to represent their community on council,” Ms Clearihan said.

“There is a lot of knowledge and experience within our councils, however it’s important that they reflect the diversity of our communities.”

The Barossa Council’s elected body is currently made up of 10 men and two women.

Council CEO Martin McCarthy supports the call for greater diversity, along with retiring councillor Margaret Harris.

“I can certainly see the benefit of having more gender balance, in line with our community profile,” she said.

Mrs Harris, who has served two terms on the council, said the best way to ensure a broad range of views are considered is for people of different life experiences, ages, genders, cultures and backgrounds to step up and make themselves heard on council.

“Being an elected member is a big responsibility,” Mrs Harris said.

“It’s not about having a personal agenda, it’s about representing the community and making decisions that reflect the best interests of the community. These are the best people for the job.”

Without the hurdle of a party-political system, nominations open to almost every community member over the age of 18.

You need to be an Australian citizen and have lived in your council area for more than one month.

Local business representatives and people who own property in a council area are also eligible.

“It would be great to see a greater proportion of women on councils and people of all ages, from different races, religions and personal and professional backgrounds to ensure that a wide range of views are being considered,” Ms Clearihan added.

To find out more about eligibility and the nomination process go to the Electoral Commission of South Australia website.

Voting in the 2018 council elections will be via postal ballot, with ballot papers distributed in October, and voting closing at 5pm Friday, November 9.