The Shire of East Pilbara will lose two councillors under dramatically redrawn ward boundaries approved by the State Government. Shire president Anthony Middleton said that although the number of councillors would be cut from eleven to nine, the new electoral system would be fairer for residents. “There’s more representation per councillor . . . we’ve put our reforms forward to make it more fair and equitable,” Cr Middleton said. The South Ward, centred on Newman, and the East Ward, which extends to the Northern Territory border, will retain its existing boundaries. The remaining four wards will be amalgamated into a new North Ward covering Nullagine and Marble Bar. There will be four councillors from the South Ward and two councillors each from the North and East Wards. The Shire president will be the ninth member of the council, but will be directly elected by all residents instead of representing a specific ward. Council documents show that councillors for some of the abolished wards represented as few as 10 residents, while now all councillors will represent at least 100. The State Government is amending the Local Government Act to limit local government areas with a population between 5000 and 75,000 to a maximum of nine councillors and require all councils to have a directly elected president. However, councils can determine how best to reform their own electoral systems to comply with the new laws. East Pilbara’s new model was unanimously approved by the council on January 19. Minister for Local Government John Carey approved the proposal on May 18. Cr Middleton also emphasised that the new model allowed for more First Nations representation from East Ward, which will now have an extra councillor. “We feel that we need more representation from First Nations people out there, because it is a large, vast area,” Cr Middleton said. The new electoral system will be in place for council elections in October.