THE GOVERNMENT will introduce compulsory postal voting for local government elections and a four-year voting cycle, under reforms announced by Local Government Minister Byran Green today.
The reforms would take place from the next local government election, which would be postponed 12 months to October 2014 to give voters time to breathe after Federal and State elections.
``Compulsory voting for all councils was always the State Government's preferred option and this was reinforced by concerns expressed about the proposed opt-in system,'' Mr Green said.
``It makes sense to introduce these reforms as soon as possible, and that means next year.''
The changes will mean that all councillors go to election at the same time, as opposed to elections for half the council every two years.
Mr Green said the change to a four-year cycle would mean mayors could get on with running local government rather than being in permanent election mode.
Local Government Association president Barry Easther said compulsory voting was not universally popular with councils, but was at least not universally despised like the proposed opt-out compulsory voting policy.
Cr Easther said there was some concern that the changes would encourage political parties to stand candidates in local government elections, a temptation he urged the two major parties to ignore.
The Greens already stand candidates in some local government areas.