There are 68 councils across South Australia. Each council area may be divided into wards.  

To access maps of council areas visit the Local Government Association

Council boundaries can be changed through a representation review process.

Local Government Representation Reviews

A Representation Review is a process to determine whether a council would benefit from an alteration to its current composition or ward structure to meet future requirements.

A council is required to conduct a review of its representation at least once in each relevant period as prescribed by the regulations of the Local Government Act 1999 (The Act).  The Minister for Local Government from time to time will publish a timing schedule for determination of the relevant period.

However, councils may undertake a review at any time into aspects of its composition or ward structure or they may be requested to undertake a review within a specified period by the Electoral Commissioner.

The Act prescribes the process and requirements of the representation review that focusses on all aspects of the composition of the council including:

  • the number of council members,
  • the division or abolishment of wards in the council area, and
  • the number of voters represented by each elected council member.

All reviews must take the principles specified in the Act into account so that:

  • any changes made are to benefit rate payers,
  • arrangements should reflect communities of interest and should avoid separations of such communities,
  • voters should be afforded effective participation in decisions on local matters, and
  • Council is able to co-operate with other councils and govern effectively.

Stages of the review

The review process is a lengthy, multi-staged undertaking and the Act prescribes opportunities for members of the public to be involved at key times within the review to provide feedback to council and involves the five stages detailed below.

Representation Options Paper 
The first stage of the review is the preparation of the Representation Options Paper. This paper gives councils and their communities the opportunity to review their current structure and composition and prepare alternative composition and structure options available for council to consider. The paper examines the advantages/disadvantages of the options for composition and structure available to the council.

First public consultation
The second stage involves consultation with the public commencing with informing the public of the Representation Options Paper availability. The Representation Options Paper invites persons to make written submissions to the council for a period of six weeks.

Representation Review Report
In the third stage, council considers the written submissions received during the first public consultation period and the options contained in the Representation Options Paper. Following consideration, council determines and endorses an ‘in principle’ position on their future structure and composition. Council then prepares the Representation Review Report that details the reasons supporting their position and must include any reasons for not supporting other options.

Second public consultation
The Representation Review Report informs the public of the ‘in principle’ decision of council and invites persons to make written submissions in response to the council for a period of three weeks.  Persons, or their representatives, who made submissions are given an opportunity to speak to their submissions before council.

Final report
Council must consider any submissions received and any representations made by persons who took the opportunity to appear before council and confirm their decision. The report is finalised and council forwards the final report to the Electoral Commissioner for certification.

If the Electoral Commissioner is satisfied that the representation review has met the requirements of the Act, a certificate of compliance will be issued, allowing council to implement changes for the next periodical election.

Guideline for Councils

The Electoral Commission SA has produced the publication Undertaking a Representation Review Guidelines for Council (1 MB) - this document is presently under review.

Review schedule

The schedule for reviews is determined by the Minister of Local Government

For more information on the representation review process in your area please contact your Council links.