Local Government elections: Promises spiraling out of control

As the hustle and bustle of the local government election dies down, the new-look City of Mandurah and Shire of Murray councils are starting to put plans in place for the next two years.

Looking back at the election build-up, it appears that this time around much of the online nastiness and vitriol between candidates witnessed in previous campaigns was not as pertinent.

However, one thing that doesn't sit well with me is some of the 'promises' local government candidates made to potential voters.

Without naming specific individuals, some of the candidates hoping to be elected appeared to misunderstand the role of local government.

Promising to deliver funding for the Peel Health Campus or Lakelands Train Station is not appropriate - these are state and federal government responsibilities and a local councillor has little-to-no ability to play a role in these wishes becoming reality.

Having the Westpac rescue chopper fly over our local swimming lessons, building an extra lane on the Mandurah Bridge - candidates might as well have promised to deliver a staircase to the moon because these things are well outwith a local government's remit.

With the voting turnout less than 30 per cent, here's hoping that people interested in casting a ballot understood that some of the election promises should have been rendered null and void.

Councillor training will help the first-timers to understand the role and explain the complexities of local government.

But, in two years time when the next hopefuls stake their claims and make their pitches, additional attention to detail by the Electoral Commission or Department of Local Government perhaps could be in order.

Gareth McKnight is the Mandurah Mail's editor.