Former Urana mayor Pat Bourke to put wards on Federation Council radar before end of 2017

HANDS TIED: Out-going Federation Council administrator Mike Eden says the merged council are unfortunately can't have wards.
HANDS TIED: Out-going Federation Council administrator Mike Eden says the merged council are unfortunately can't have wards.

NEWLY elected Federation councillor Pat Bourke has vowed to put the introduction of wards on the council’s agenda at one of its first meeting.

Mr Bourke was the only former Urana councillor elected to Federation this week and said he would be submitting a notice of motion before Christmas to re-visit bringing in wards.

He revealed the decision to not have wards was one of the reasons he quit the local representative committee put in place to support administrator Mike Eden.

“If we didn’t have a ticket to merge our strengths we wouldn’t have got anyone on,” Mr Bourke said.

“Wards are going to be very important when you look at what has happened.”

Former Jerilderie mayor Ruth McRae, who has been elected to the nearby Murrumbidgee Council, is a big supporter of wards.

They were adopted in Murrumbidgee with one centred on Jerilderie and others based around Coleambally and Darlington Point.

"We advocated from the start that we wanted to have a ward system that would ensure on the initial council we would have credible representation at the table," Mrs McRae said.

"We realised that would be fair, not only to Jerilderie, but Coleambally and Darlington Point.”

She was glad Urana had one candidate elected, but believed in the interests of "fair play" Federation should have wards.

"I just think it's the fairest means of having the smaller communities and villages represented," she said.

"We may be less in number, but we're no less important."

Mr Eden said wards weren’t possible due to the population differences of the former Urana Shire towns compared to Corowa, Howlong and Mulwala.

Federation differed to Murrumbidgee because its three major towns were of similar size.

“It makes sense to have wards, but it throws out the window the one person, one vote value,” he said.

“I did look at it in detail, but it was never going to work.”