Shire of Northam
|Shire of Northam
Location in Western Australia
|Population||11,516 (2011 est)|
|• Density||8.0447/km2 (20.8357/sq mi)|
|Area||1,431.5 km2 (552.7 sq mi)|
|State electorate(s)||Central Wheatbelt|
The Shire of Northam is a local government area in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, beyond the northeastern fringe of the Perth metropolitan area centred on the town of Northam itself. The Shire covers an area of 1,431 square kilometres (553 sq mi). In 2007, it merged with the Town of Northam, almost tripling its population in the process from a previous size of 3,794 (ABS 2006).
In 1871, the Northam Road District was constituted under the Road Boards Act 1871. On 4 November 1879, the separate Northam Municipality was constituted to manage the town of Northam. The town expanded beyond the municipal boundaries (which were set at about 5 km2 (1.9 sq mi)) and on 6 September 1957, the municipal boundaries were adjusted to bring all of Northam under it. The Road District lost a significant part of its population in this transfer.
On 1 July 1961, the Road District became a shire under the Local Government Act 1960.
In September 2006, the Shire received a report into the possibility of merging with the Town of Northam, and on 31 October 2006, the Local Government Advisory Board received a proposal to that effect from both councils. Public meetings in December 2006 announced that the new council would be known as the Shire of Northam, and would come into existence on 1 July 2007, initially operated by a board of commissioners (two from each entity plus an independent chair).
In January 2007, the Local Government Advisory Board officially recommended to the Minister for Local Government that the amalgamation proceed. The Shire electors successfully petitioned for a referendum within their area, which was held on 28 April 2007. Prior to the election, the Shire of Northam itself took the unusual step of asking its electors not to vote, in order to deny the referendum the 50% of voters needed to constitute a valid poll under Clause 10 of Schedule 2.1 of the Local Government Act 1995. With a participation rate of 23.59%, a majority of 93% voted against the proposal. This 23.59% voter participation equates to 596 voters; less than the number that petitioned for the referendum in the first place.
The amalgamation proceeded as planned and the first elections for seats in the new council were held in October 2007.
The Shire has been divided into four wards.
- Town Ward (five councillors)
- Central Ward (two councillors)
- West Ward (two councillors)
- East Ward (one councillor)
Towns and localities
- Bakers Hill
- Grass Valley
- Southern Brook
- Spencers Brook
The historic populations of the area which now forms the Shire of Northam are as follows. "Old Shire" relates to the pre-2007 boundaries.
- "3218.0 Regional Population Growth, Australia. Table 5. Estimated Resident Population, Local Government Areas, Western Australia". 30 March 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
- WA Electoral Commission, Municipality Boundary Amendments Register (release 2.0), 31 May 2003.
- Kelly LG Services (September 2006). "Shire and Town of Northam Merger Study Report". Archived from the original on 2006-10-11. Retrieved 2006-11-04. - commissioned by Department of Local Government and Regional Development.
- Local Government Advisory Board (November 2006). "Proposal to Amalgamate the Shire of Northam and the Town of Northam - Information Paper". Retrieved 2006-11-15.[dead link]
- Local Government Advisory Board (March 2007). "Proposal to Amalgamate the Shire of Northam and the Town of Northam". Retrieved 2007-04-21.
- Llewellyn, Cr A W (18 April 2007). "Please Abstain From Voting". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-05-01.
- Western Australian Electoral Commission (28 April 2007). "Northam Shire of - Voting In Person Referendum". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-05-01.