Call for Minister Hancock to hold 2021 Coffs Local Government Election early

NSW Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock will provide Coffs Harbour City Council with additional funding to provide a COVID-Safe Local Government Election in 2021. Photo: Supplied.


NEXT year’s highly anticipated Coffs Harbour Local Government Elections will be undertaken in person, following a recent ruling by NSW Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock and a resolution by Coffs Harbour City Council.

On 17 November, Minister Hancock advised NSW Councils that the 4 September 2021 Local Government elections will be held using full attendance voting.

Following the postponement of the September 2020 Local Government elections, discussions were held with NSW Councils on election delivery options, including mandatory postal voting.

Following the discussions, NSW Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock instructed the NSW Electoral Commissioner to prepare for full attendance voting at the 2021 local government elections.

The Minister advised that if COVID-19 is still impacting communities next year, the cost of holding full attendance elections will increase to meet a substantial rise in the electoral staff and polling booths needed to comply with physical distancing and sanitising requirements.

To cater for this, the NSW government will provide the NSW Electoral Commission with additional funding to hold COVID-Safe elections if required, so councils will only be billed for the cost of holding elections in a normal environment.

Minister Hancock has secured a $56.8 million funding package as part of the NSW Government’s 2020/21 Budget to assist NSW councils with holding COVID-Safe elections next year.

Coffs Harbour City councillors unanimously resolved at Council’s meeting on Thursday 10 December to note that the 4 September 2021 Local Government Elections will be held via full attendance voting.

However, Coffs Harbour resident Gai Anderson spoke against the Council resolution at Council’s recent meeting, and called on councillors to urge Minister Hancock to hold the Coffs Harbour local government election as soon as possible.

“I urge you all to think beyond your own desires and to act on passing back the community’s desire for the elections to be brought forward as much as possible to Minister Hancock as a matter of urgency,” Ms Anderson said.

“The electoral commission could be informed as a matter of urgency the new date in the second half of March or April could be gazetted, and the way that Councils and their constituents across the State are suffering could be shortened by five or six months.

“This would make a huge difference, particularly in some Councils like ours.”

Ms Anderson said the improvements that had been made in Australia in overcoming the spread of COVID-19 could now see the local government elections, which had been postponed a year, brought forward.

“There is nothing to prevent her (Shelley Hancock) from revising her decision,” Ms Anderson said.

“There have been State and electorate by-elections carried out since the pandemic hit, and no outbreaks were reported there spiking as a result.

“I realise that having the elections early may not appeal to those of you who voted in favour of the Cultural and Civic Space project progressing, however I urge you to think in the bigger picture as to your obligations to act in the best interests of everybody.”



One thought on “Call for Minister Hancock to hold 2021 Coffs Local Government Election early

  1. Oh god she’s at it again trying to tell the elected members and the minister what to do. I have had the misfortune to have to sit through one of this womans disjointed and rambling addresses to council. Leave council to make its own decisions as it sees fit.

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