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The owners and occupiers roll (roll), is maintained by a local government’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The roll is required to include all people who have claimed a right to vote in the local government district under section 4.30 of the Local
Government Act 1995 (LG Act). Section 4.30 provides (excerpt only):
As such, a person who is enrolled to vote in a State or Federal election outside a district or ward, but who owns or occupies a rateable property in a local government district or ward, may claim eligibility and be enrolled to vote in elections for that
district or ward. However, there are additional requirements to be considered when assessing an enrolment claim, including requirements under the Local Government (Elections) Regulations 1997 (Election Regs).
This guideline aims to assist local governments in understanding the various requirements in the LG Act and Election Regs for enrolment eligibility claims.
When using this guideline, local governments should be aware of section 4.32(5) of the LG Act that allows the CEO to make any inquiries needed to make a decision on a claim. As such, a CEO should ensure they are satisfied that a claimant has a genuine
claim based upon the evidence provided.
They should also be aware that all references to a CEO in this guideline include a delegate if the relevant power or duty has been delegated by the CEO to that person under section 5.44 (CEO may delegate powers) of the LG Act.
It is important to note that this document does not constitute legal advice and has been prepared to assist CEOs in the performance of their duties. Accordingly, if in doubt, local governments should seek legal advice and should always refer to the relevant
provisions of the LG Act and Election Regs.
This guideline has been prepared based upon the requirements of the LG Act and the Election Regs prior to the commencement of relevant sections in the Local Government Amendment Act 2023. This guideline will be updated for the commencement of any relevant
Section 4.30 of the LG Act allows 2 types of claims — a claim of ownership or a claim of occupation. This is supplemented by section 4.31 of the LG Act which covers various ownership or occupation scenarios; including where more than 2 people (including
body corporates) own or occupy the property.
Eligibility to vote as an owner or occupier, relies generally on 3 things:
This guideline addresses potential situations that could arise when assessing enrolment eligibility claims. These are (see section 2.5 for details):
Claims of ownership are generally straightforward although they do not necessarily always reflect what is shown on the certificate of title for the relevant property. This is because the definition of 'owner' in the LG Act applies.
When determining eligibility, the term 'owner' means1:
Disputes about the ownership of a property should primarily rely on what is registered on the certificate of title, subject to any lease, contract or other legal instrument that otherwise provides the person with an applicable interest in the land.
The LG Act and the Election Regs impose a series of requirements and tests on occupier claims. To make a claim of occupation, the claimant must have a written lease, tenancy agreement or other legal instrument to evidence a claim of a right of occupation
to rateable property.
Local government CEOs have a responsibility to ensure a free and fair election. This includes ensuring that those enrolled to vote have an actual entitlement to be enrolled.
The eligibility requirements for 'occupation' are covered further in Part 3 of this guideline.
The LG Act provides generally for 2 people that own a property to have a vote each. This reflects the common ownership arrangements of residential property. However, some property ownership arrangements mean that a property is not always owned by one or 2 natural persons or a single body corporate. It can be co-owned or co-occupied by a group of people. Section 4.31(1E) and (1F) of the LG Act states that:
(1E) If more than 2 people own rateable property in conjunction with each other, the owners are whichever 2 of those people who, being eligible under section 4.30(1)(a), are nominated as owners by all or a majority of those people.
(1F) If more than 2 people occupy rateable property in conjunction with each other, the occupiers are whichever 2 of those people who, being eligible under section 4.30(1)(a), are nominated as occupiers by all or a majority of those people.
Due to the nature of property ownership it is possible for more than one body corporate, or a mixture of bodies corporate or natural people to have co-ownership or co-occupation of a property, and claims of this nature are occasionally made.
Co-ownership refers to when more than 2 natural persons or more than one body corporate (or a mixture of both) are listed as the owner on the certificate of title (or are otherwise owners in accordance with the definition in section 1.4 of the Act).
Co-occupation refers to when more than 2 natural persons or more than one body corporate (or a mixture of both) are listed as lessee on the lease.
It is important to note that, in any case, no more than 2 people can be nominated. The table below provides how many persons may be nominated in the following situations:
In relation to the ownership or occupation of properties by companies and associations, section 4.31(1G) of the LG Act provides that:
“If a body corporate owns or occupies rateable property, the owners or occupiers are 2 people who, being eligible under section 4.30(1)(a), are nominated as owners or occupiers by the body corporate.”
This allows a body corporate to appoint 2 persons (nominees) to vote on its behalf. The LG Act and Election Regs do not require this person to be related to the body corporate, only nominated by the body corporate.
The following are examples of a body corporate:
There are some common misconceptions associated with body corporates as owners or occupiers, as those concepts are tied to the legal status of the entity involved and not how a business is generally operated in practice. The examples below set out common claimants which are not “body corporates” for the purposes of the LG Act, although the claimant may still be eligible to enrol to vote in a different capacity.
Co-occupation refers to when more than 2 parties are listed as lessee on the lease.
Clause 12 of Schedule 9.3 to the LG Act provides for the continuous enrolment of persons who were enrolled under the Local Government Act 1960 (1960 Act) which did not necessarily require a person to hold Australian citizenship to be enrolled to vote.
Section 35 of the 1960 Act also allowed for natural born or naturalized British subjects ordinarily residing in the State to vote.
Clause 12 of Schedule 9.3 to the LG Act allows those persons on the electoral roll, prior to the commencement of the LG Act2, who have continuously owned or occupied property in a district
since then, to remain enrolled. A local government CEO is obliged to maintain a copy of that roll under that clause.
For a claim to be successful the claimant needs to have:
As a result, it is possible, though unlikely that any claimant can meet these tests. Nevertheless, this avenue for enrolment remains within the LG Act.
The CEO considering an enrolment eligibility claim should ensure that suitable evidence has been provided or gathered to confirm the person is eligible for enrolment. The checklist below provides guidance on what should be confirmed for each enrolment
The first step with all claims should be to verify that the claimant (or corporate nominee) is enrolled to vote for either:
These checks can be conducted through the websites of either electoral commission through the 'check my enrolment' feature. The details provided on the enrolment form by the applicant should allow you to verify this. If you are experiencing difficulties
verifying a claimant, or the claimant indicates they are a silent elector, the local government can contact the Western Australia Electoral Commission via firstname.lastname@example.org to
It is important to verify that the claimant is not already enrolled to vote in the ward, or in a local government with no wards, the district, as a person cannot be enrolled as both a resident and on the owner and occupiers roll.
In rejecting claims on this basis, the following reasons should be provided on the form that rejects their application:
You are already enrolled to vote for [name of local government] elections as a resident in the [name of ward]. To be eligible for enrolment as an owner or occupier, section 4.30(1)(a) of the Local Government Act 1995 requires that you be enrolled
for a State or Federal election for a residence outside of the relevant ward.
You are not enrolled to vote for the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia or House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Australia. To be eligible to be enrolled as an owner or occupier, section 4.30(1)(a) of the Local Government Act 1995
requires that you be enrolled for a State or Federal election for a residence outside of the [name of local government]/[name of ward].
The second step on all claims is to verify that a property is rateable. These records are held by the local government and should be easily accessible for verification purposes. It is important to note that if a property is receiving a rates concession,
it is still rateable. It is only if the LG Act or another written law provides an exception for that property from paying rates that it is unrateable.3
As the owner of the property under the LG Act is ordinarily the person liable for the payment of rates, ownership can be verified through these records. If disputes arise regarding the ownership of land, a local government should rely on the certificate
of title and any other contract or legal instrument that provides the person an interest in the land.
Occasionally, some claimants may also be unaware of the specific boundaries of a local government. This may result in them applying to the wrong local government. For example, the suburb of Mount Lawley is located in the Cities of Vincent, Bayswater
If rejecting a claim due to these checks, one of the following reasons should be provided:
The property you have claimed for eligibility to vote is not a rateable property. To be eligible to be enrolled, section 4.30(1)(b) of the Local Government Act 1995 requires that you (or the body corporate that nominates you) own or occupy rateable
property in the [name of local government].
The property that you have claimed for eligibility to vote is not within the [insert name of local government]. It is in the boundaries of the [insert name of local government].
To be eligible to be enrolled, section 4.30(1)(b) of the Local Government Act 1995 requires that you (or the body corporate that nominates you) own or occupy rateable property within the [insert name of local government].
You (or the body corporate that has nominated you) do not own the property that you have claimed for eligibility to vote.
Where a body corporate makes an enrolment eligibility claim, it is important that the CEO is satisfied the body corporate exists. In doing so, the local government should verify that the body corporate has a current registration through the registration
authority (for example, the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) or the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS)). This can be done online via the relevant websites.
If a body corporate cannot be found online, the local government may wish to conduct an ABN lookup to establish the nature of the business to help determine if the entity is a body corporate at all.
The Election Regs require that the nomination given by a body corporate is provided by an 'officer of the body corporate'. This term is not defined in the LG Act or Election Regs or Interpretation Act 1984, although guidance should be sought from
the legislation under which the body corporate is established. For example, see Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) section 9 or Associations Act section 3.
The nomination by the body corporate should include the details of the person nominating on behalf of the body corporate. If the person making the nomination is not a director (member of the management committee), company secretary or CEO of the body
corporate, the CEO of the local government should consider if they have sufficient standing to make the nomination.
Finally, in this check, the CEO should establish if the body corporate already has 2 nominees on the roll. This is not a basis for rejection; however, the body corporate should confirm its withdrawal of a previous nomination to before they can add
any new nominees.
In refusing claims due to a failure to satisfy this check, the following reasons should be provided:
To be eligible to be enrolled as a nominee of a body corporate under section 4.31(1G) of the Local Government Act 1995. you must be nominated by a body corporate that owns or occupies property in the [insert name of local government].
Based on the evidence provided, the body corporate that has nominated you is not registered with [insert relevant authority] and is unable to nominate you to vote on its behalf.
The entity that has nominated you is not a body corporate as it is a [insert relevant details]. e.g. A trust, which is a financial relationship between a trustee and beneficiary. A sole trader, which is a natural
person with an Australian Business Number. A partnership, which is a legal relationship between 2 or more people.
To be eligible to be enrolled as a nominee of a body corporate under section 4.31(1G) of the Local Government Act 1995, you must be nominated by a body corporate that owns or occupies property in the [local government district/ward].
You have not provided a nomination from the body corporate that owns/occupies the property at [insert address].
Where more than 2 persons (or bodies corporate) co-own or co-occupy a property, they may nominate 2 of the co-owners or co-occupiers to vote on their collective behalf. In doing so, they should provide a letter signed by a majority of the other owners
Where a body corporate owns a property with other bodies corporate or natural persons, the nominees of the body corporate under 4.31(1G) are to be considered as being the owners and occupiers for the purposes of section 4.31(1E)&(1F).
Occasionally, there may be applications to remove and replace nominees. Where this arises, the CEO should rely on the process in section 4.35(1)(c) of the LG Act to provide 28 days’ notice of removal. This is discussed further in Part 4.
If a claimant cannot satisfy the majority nomination requirement, the following reason should be provided:
To be eligible to be enrolled as a nominee of a group of more than 2 owners/occupiers* under section 4.31(1E)/(1F)* of the Local Government Act 1995, you must be nominated by a majority of the owners/occupiers*.
You have not provided a nomination from a majority of the joint owners/occupiers* of the property.
*Delete what is not relevant.
Unlike ownership of rateable property, which is often a clear outcome with only 2 voters for the owners of a property, there can be a large number of occupation claims from a single property. Large commercial shopping centres or office buildings give
rise to a large number of potential 'separate and distinguishable portions' of a rateable property that could be used to each claim 2 votes.
When considering a right of occupation, the CEO must establish the following to confirm that a genuine right of occupation that is sufficient to establish a right to be eligible to vote under the LG Act. For this purpose, the following should be met:
In the event a claimant is unable to demonstrate these matters, the following reasons for refusal should be provided:
The lease you have provided:*
Based on the evidence provided you/the body corporate that has nominated you**, you do not have a right of occupation for a rateable property for at least 3 months, under a lease, tenancy agreement or other legal instrument** in the [name of local
This is required by sections 4.30(1)(b), 4.31(1C) and 4.31(1D) of the Local Government Act 1995.
*Delete whatever reasons are not required**Delete what is not required.
Based on the evidence provided, you/the body corporate that has nominated you* do not have a right of occupation of a separate or distinguishable portion of rateable property, under a lease, tenancy agreement or other legal instrument** for at
least 3 months, in the [insert name of local government].
**Delete what is not required.
Some local governments have historically rejected enrolments because a person is already on the owners and occupier roll or is already nominated for a different body corporate. It does not appear that these represent a valid basis for rejecting enrolment.
If this occurs, a local government should update the enrolment of the claimant or nominee to the most recent enrolment.
A person can be the nominee of several bodies corporate; however, that person can only receive 1 vote for the district or in the case of a local government having wards, a ward, as per section 4.66 of the LG Act.
Sections 4.33, 4.35 and 4.43 of the LG Act provide the ways a person is to be removed from the roll. As part of their maintenance of the roll, local governments should ensure they appropriately maintain their roll, follow the correct processes, and
only remove those persons who they have the power to remove. The processes provide certain avenues for a CEO to remove someone without a need to seek submissions for 28 days; however, the submission process may need to be adhered to in some cases.
Section 4.33(1) of the LG Act provides that a person’s enrolment expires when they are enrolled based on their ownership of rateable property and their property is sold. Local governments regularly receive details of land sales, consistent
with section 9.68 of the LG Act.
Local governments should ensure that where advice of change of ownership is received, the roll is checked to ensure that the owner is removed if they were enrolled.
A local government should however ensure that it does not remove all owners if only 1 owner of a group changes.
If 1 person of a pair of owners changes, only the person that no longer has ownership should be removed.
If a property is owned by a group of 3 or more people and there is an ownership change, a local government should check if the change of ownership changes the majority required for the nominees under section 4.31(1E).
Section 4.33 of the LG Act provides for the expiration of enrolments when a person is enrolled based on the occupation of rateable property. The table below outlines when claims expire based on when they were originally made.
If accepted for enrolment, a claimant will always have the opportunity to vote in 2 ordinary elections before expiry.
For example, for claims that expire based on the effluxion of time, this means for claims made between the 2021 Ordinary Election Day and the close of roll for the 2023 Ordinary Election expire on 21 April 2026, being 2 ordinary elections and
6 months from 21 October 2023.
Section 4.33 of the LG Act also provides that where a council is suspended or dismissed and an ordinary election is skipped because of this, it is to be treated as though an ordinary election did take place for the purposes of this section.
In the event that an extraordinary or other election will be held within 50 days of a person’s expiry day under this section, expiry is not to occur until the day after that extraordinary or other election day.
It is recommended that a local government review their roll 6 months following an ordinary election to remove all occupiers who are due to expire.
Section 4.35(1)(a) of the LG Act allows an elector to advise the CEO that they are no longer eligible to be enrolled. If this occurs, the CEO should remove this person from the roll.
Section 4.35(1)(b) of the LG Act allows a CEO to remove a person from the roll who has passed away. A CEO may be notified of this when property ownership changes to the executor of an estate, by the family of the deceased person or by the Electoral
Commission. Local governments can also check death notices to proactively maintain a roll. In these instances, the local government may remove a person from the roll.
Section 4.43(1) of the LG Act requires the Returning Officer (RO) to delete the name of any person who is also on the residents roll from the owners and occupiers roll for that ward (or if there are no wards, that district).
For elections where the CEO is not the RO, such as when an RO is appointed by the Electoral Commissioner, section 4.43(3a) of the LG Act permits the RO to direct the CEO to make the changes required by section 4.43(1).
In both cases, the CEO must remove the person that appears on the residents roll from the owners and occupiers roll.
Section 4.35 of the LG Act provides a process for removal with notice where the CEO has reason to believe an elector is no longer eligible. This method is to be used when removal cannot be done in line with 1 of the 5 reasons set out in part 4.2
of this guideline. Reasons why a CEO may consider a person to no longer be qualified to be included on the roll can include:
In these instances, the CEO may give notice to the elector setting out the reasons they believe they are not eligible. In doing so, the CEO should set out the reasons they believe the person is no longer eligible and detail the evidence they are
relying on in forming their view.
The CEO must provide that elector 28 days to provide a submission in response. This submission may contest the CEO’s evidence or provide information that resolves the eligibility question.
Regulation 11 of the Election Regs allows a body corporate or group of co-owner/co-occupiers to withdraw their nomination of an elector. While there is no express requirement to provide notice to the elector prior to withdrawal of the nomination,
the CEO may wish to consider doing so. This is due to there being instances where nomination withdrawals have been contested because of business or family disputes.
For consistency with section 4.35(2) of the LG Act, and to prevent arbitrary withdrawals, the CEO may wish to provide 28 days’ notice even though it is not required to do so.
There is a chance that when providing 28 days’ notice, issues could arise for new nominees if their application is lodged less than 28 days before the CEO must compile the roll for an election. In these instances, a CEO could choose to provide
a shorter notice period or a body corporate could seek to have their existing electors write to the CEO to advise they are no longer nominated by the company for the purposes of section 4.35(1)(a), allowing for their instant removal.
The following are other relevant provisions of the LG Act and Election Regs to keep in mind in managing the roll.
Do not submit enquiries with this form.