Council Elections

Designated Local Government Elections

Local Government Elections are held on the third Saturday in October, every two years. 

When: The next election will be held on Saturday, 21 October 2023.

How: The Shire uses postal voting and postal voting packages which are mailed to all eligible electors on the local government electoral roll. Packages include a list of candidates, ballot papers, instructions on how to vote, a declaration and a reply-paid envelope.

View the timeline for the 2023 Local Government Election.

Call for nominations

How to make sure you can vote in Local Government Elections.

Voting is not compulsory but is encouraged.

All eligible electors must enrol to vote. When you enrol to vote, you are enrolled for Commonwealth, State and Local Government Elections. You can check your enrolment online.

All residents in a Local Government district who are enrolled on the State Electoral Roll are automatically enrolled on the corresponding local government roll. All eligible electors are allowed to vote once in any district or ward for which they are enrolled. If a person lives within one local district or ward, and owns or occupies property in a different district or ward, they may be entitled to a vote in both areas, provided they are enrolled for those addresses. 

If you are a resident of the Shire and not already enrolled to vote at your residence, you must make a claim for enrolment with the State Electoral Commission.

Candidate Profiles.

As nominations for Shire President and Councillor are accepted, the Returning Officer will publish the nomination details and candidate profiles on the Candidate Profiles page.

The details and profile will stay on the website either until the result is declared if no election is required or until 6.00pm on election day.

How this Local Government Election is different.

In July 2022 the Department Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC) announced the final package of proposed local government reforms aimed at ensuring local governments better serve residents and ratepayers. The reforms have been crafted in consultation with the local government sector and are the most significant reforms to the sector in 25 years. Included in the reform package was the introduction of optional preferential voting, public election of the Shire President and requirement for local governments to consider the size of Council representation. 

The reform came into effect in early 2023 and impacted the number of Councillors that the Shire of Harvey is required to have. For Councils of the Shire of Harvey’s population size, the number of Councillors must be reduced to between five and nine Councillors including the Shire President. 

In accordance with Schedule 2.2 of the Local Government Act 1995 (the Act), the Shire undertook a review of its Council size through a Review of System of Representation. A discussion paper was prepared and community consultation was conducted through community information pop-up sessions and online and hardcopy surveys to find a system of representation that best suits the characteristics of the District and its people. The options examined within this consultation met the requirements of the reform and were used to form a decision for consideration by the Local Government Advisory Board and the Minister for Local Government.

Read about the Review of System of Representation.

The changes to Local Government Elections are summarised below: 

Voting system changed from 'first past the post' to optional preferential voting

How to vote under the Optional Preferential Voting System

Voting has changed from the ‘first past the post’ system to optional preferential voting – the same method used in State and Federal elections. Optional preferential voting means you are not required to provide all preferences in casting your vote.

Optional preferential voting means that to be elected you need to either achieve a majority of votes in the count for a single vacancy or a quota of votes where there is more than one vacancy to be filled. As a result, the candidates elected are more representative of the majority of voters. Under the current first-past-the-post voting system candidates have been elected with as little as 4.71% of the vote. Councils will be more representative of the majority of voters with greater opportunities for a diversity of representation and views on council.

The process of the election will remain the same, the key difference being how you complete your vote on your ballot paper, instead of ticking a box or boxes, you will number a box or boxes.

DLGSC has provided the following infographic and video to assist the new voting system:

Method of filling the office of the Shire President through an election by Council has changed to popularly elected by public vote.

Election of Shire President

Local governments that are classified as a band 1 or 2 (larger local governments) under the current determination of the Salaries and Allowances Tribunal will be required to elect the mayor or president by a vote of the electors, rather than by the council. 

This means that electors will vote for the set number of councillor positions plus separately vote for one Shire President.

Number of Elected Members will reduce from 13 (including the Shire President) to nine (including the Shire President) over two ordinary elections:
  • 2023 Local Government Election – reduce from 13 to 11 Elected Members.
  • 2025 Local Government Election – reduce from 11 to nine Elected Members.

The flowchart below illustrates how the reduction of Elected Members will occur over the next two Ordinary Local Government Elections:

No ward system of representation retained.

The Shire of Harvey recognises that a ‘one size fits all’ approach does not effectively meet the challenges of providing services to geographically and socially distant communities. To address this, the Shire introduced Local Area Planning as a strategy to help it plan for future growth and community service provision at the local level. This approach ensures that the infrastructure and services provided are able to be tailored to meet the differing requirements of the community.

Local Area Planning involves local community members working together with Council to identify goals and issues specific to their community. Place Advisory Groups have been established for each district that are made up of local community members, Shire staff and Councillors. Meetings are held quarterly and provide the forum for an exchange of information and decision-making on local issues by community representatives and the Shire.

Place Advisory Groups have enhanced engagement with each community without the need for a ward system which was previously abolished. Reasons against the ward system include:

  • Councillors can become too focused on their wards and less focused on the affairs of other wards and the whole local government,
  • An unhealthy competition for resources can develop where electors in each ward come to expect the services and facilities provided in other wards, whether they are appropriate or not,
  • Ward boundaries may appear to be placed arbitrarily and not reflect the social interaction and communities of interest of the community,
  • Balanced representation across the local government may be difficult to achieve if a local government has highly populated urban areas and sparsely populated rural areas,
  • The election process is more complex for the community to understand and for Council to administer.

Through Local Area Planning, six broader districts have been identified – Australind, Coastal, Harvey, Leschenault, Rural North and Rural South.

Watch the Minister for Local Government explain the Local Government Reforms and 2023 Local Government Elections:

Information for Voters

Types of Voters


People who are already enrolled as electors on the State Electoral Roll for their residential address, are automatically enrolled on the Resident Roll for Local Government Elections and will not need to make a claim for enrolment.

If you are a resident of the Shire and not already enrolled to vote at your residence, you must make a claim for enrolment with the State Electoral Commission.

If you are a non-resident and are not on the State Electoral Role: 

Non-Resident Owners 

Non-resident owners are eligible to be enrolled to vote in a Local Government Election if they meet the following criteria:

  1. Enrolled as an elector on the State or Commonwealth Roll for a residence outside the Shire; and
  2. Own or occupy rateable property within the Shire; and
  3. Complete an Enrolment Eligibility Claim Form and have it accepted by the Shire for future elections.

What is the Owner / Occupier Roll?

The owner /occupier roll is an electoral roll for local government elections where people who own or occupy property within a local government district and are enrolled to vote at another address, can apply to their local government to be included on the roll as an owner /occupier.

Enrolment on the owner /occupier roll allows a person who is enrolled to vote at one address, and owns or occupies property at a different address, to a vote in both areas.

It also allows non-resident co-owners and occupiers who are enrolled to vote at another address, or a body corporate, to apply to nominate up to two eligible electors to be included on the owner /occupier roll.

Eligibility for Owner / Occupier Roll

People who own or occupy property within the Shire of Harvey can apply to be included on the roll as an owner /occupier, as long as they are eligible electors.

An eligible elector is someone who is currently on the State or Commonwealth Electoral Roll, or who qualifies under clause 12 of Schedule 9.3 to the Local Government Act 1995.

To qualify under clause 12 the elector must:


Occupiers of rateable land in the Shire that are not on the Resident’s Roll are eligible to vote in local government elections however they will need to complete an Enrolment Eligibility Claim Form and have it accepted by the Shire, and have a right of continuous occupation under lease, tenancy agreement or other legal instrument for a minimum of three months from the date of application.

Joint Owners and Occupiers

Where rateable property is owned or occupied by more than two people, a majority of the owners and occupiers may nominate two persons from amongst themselves, to be enrolled as owner /occupier electors.


A body corporate, which owns or occupies rateable property, may nominate two persons provided they are enrolled on either the State or Commonwealth electoral rolls. If the body corporate owns properties in more than one ward the same nominees must apply for both wards. The Shire requires confirmation in writing from the body corporate, stating the names of the nominees.

Enrolment Duration

For occupiers and corporations, if an enrolment eligibility claim is accepted it will remain valid for the next two ordinary elections in the Shire. After that period, if the elector wishes to retain their eligibility they will need to make another enrolment eligibility claim.

Eligibility for property owners remains in force until the property is sold or they wish to cancel their enrolment.

Information for Candidates

Nominate as a Candidate

Nominations open: Thursday, 31 August 2023

Nominations close: Thursday, 7 September 2023 at 4.00pm

Nominations can only be made to the Returning Officer during the designated nomination period. When a candidate makes a declaration , they are attesting that t they are an elector of the district and are not disqualified from holding office. The Returning Officer can witness a candidate's declaration. For more information about nominations please visit the Western Australian Electoral Commission.

To nominate as a candidate for a Local Government Election, the candidate must make a valid nomination application. This consists of:

  • a completed nomination form. It is recommended that candidates use Nomination Builder to complete their nomination form and construct their candidate profile.
  • a candidate profile (maximum 1000 characters inclusive of spaces).
  • a deposit of $100.
  • a photograph (optional).

All nomination applications must be signed by the candidate in front of a witness. The nomination application must be presented to the Returning Officer at a pre-arranged appointment before 4.00pm on the day of close of nominations, 37 days before election day.

As the Returning Officer may ask candidates to amend their nomination, it is recommended that candidates ensure that they have allowed sufficient time to finalise any required changes prior to the close of nominations.

Eligibility to nominate

Under the Local Government Act 1995, to be eligible to nominate as a candidate for a local government election, the candidate must be an elector of the district (residential or owner / occupier) and over 18 years of age. A person cannot nominate as a candidate if they:

  • are a member of the Legislative Assembly, the Legislative Council, the House of Representatives or the Senate (or has been elected as such a member but has not yet taken office)
  • are a member of the council of another Local Government
  • are an insolvent under administration
  • are in prison serving a sentence for a crime
  • have been convicted of a serious local government offence within the last 5 years (unless the court waived the disqualification)
  • have been convicted on indictment of an offence for which the indictable penalty was, or included:
    • imprisonment for life, or
    • imprisonment for more than five years.
  • are subject to a court order disqualifying him or her from being a member of a council because he or she has misapplied local government funds or property
  • are a nominee of a body corporate.

Prior to nominating, all candidates must complete the online candidate induction course from the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries website. 

Candidate Information Webinar

This video is a recording of the Candidate Information Webinar that was held on Monday, 14 August 2023.
As well as describing the key processes and roles in becoming a Councillor, the webinar included a Question-and-Answer session addressing direct queries from participants.

LG Candidate Briefing. Everything you need to know about being a Local Government Candidate.



LG Candidate Briefing
2021 Local Government Election results

View the results of the local government election held on Saturday, 16 October 2021.

2023 Local Government Election results

View the results of the local government election held on Saturday, 21 October 2023