Councillor training welcomed by leaders

Stuart McGuckinSouth Western Times
Shire of Dardanup president Mick Bennett with Shire of Donnybrook- Balingup president Brian Piesse.
Camera IconShire of Dardanup president Mick Bennett with Shire of Donnybrook- Balingup president Brian Piesse.

Shire presidents are wary of the extra burden councillors and election candidates may face, but have otherwise reacted positively to plans for mandatory training.

The State Government announced last week that candidates would be required to complete an online induction prior to nominating for October elections.

Councillors would then be required to complete five modules within their first year of office.

Dardanup shire president Mick Bennett said in the past councillors took up to a year to learn their role.

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“If you have knowledge about what takes place at meetings and what you need to do in particular circumstances before you get on council it must be good,” he said.

“It needs to happen, but it might be hard to ask people to go through the training if they are unsure if they will be elected.”

Collie shire president Sarah Stanley said training would be a good thing as long as it was implemented well.

“I haven’t seen exactly what they are going to roll out – it depends on how onerous the requirements will be on councillors,” she said.

“If it has to be face-to-face training, it will be particularly difficult for councillors working full time.”

Harvey shire president Tania Jackson believed training would help people gain an understanding of their responsibilities.

“I think it’s really important to do this before making a commitment to running,” she said.

“You certainly do need assistance to get a good grounding.”

Donnybrook-Balingup shire president Brian Piesse said extensive training undertaken after the most recent elections had a positive impact on his council.

“I believe that set the scene for what has been a big change in our council,” he said.

“We always encourage our councillors to participate in ongoing development to improve their knowledge about what their role is within council.”

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