Great Lakes Council Deputy Mayor Len Roberts talks about, Council Election Deferred, the Federal Election, and Centre Of Excellence for Aging
Council Election Deferred
AS acting Mayor, I received a letter from the Minister for Local Government last week advising that elections for Great Lakes Council will be deferred until next year. The letter in part stated:
As you will be aware, ordinary local government elections are scheduled to occur on 10 September 2016. For councils not subject to a merger proposal that is under examination, ordinary elections will proceed on this date… Given… any councils that are merged as a result of this process may not be adequately prepared for a 10 September 2016 election… intends to delay local government elections for all councils subject to a merger proposal…
This was an important statement from the minister as it provides certainty to councils on matters that affect council business whilst under a merger. In our case we would not likely know until June/July whether we would be merged.
Whilst under a merger proposal councillors are not allowed to campaign as one would not know the council boundary.
In addition, if the council was found to stand-alone, it would only give weeks for a campaign to be conducted and would put aspiring councillors at a disadvantage.
This announcement will give at least 6 months breathing space between any decision and council elections.
It appears that the Federal Election will be held on 2 July 2016.
The Myall Coast area as well as the rest of Great Lakes Shire is no longer in the Federal seat of Patterson and is now included in the Federal seat of Lyne.
Bob Baldwin was our long serving member and last week announced his retirement.
Bob was a good friend to the Great Lakes Shire and worked hard on our behalf.
He put many runs on the board, in particular, securing funding for the Myall River and Jimmy’s Beach restoration.
On behalf of the community I wish Bob well in his retirement and thank him for a job well done.
The current Member for Lyne is Dr David Gillespie and I have met him a couple of times and already he has continued on where Bob left off.
He has secured funding already for a couple of council projects.
Centre of Excellence for Ageing
The Great Lakes has the ‘oldest’ population in NSW. Based on these demographics, Council resolved in December 2012 to become a Centre of Excellence for Ageing.
This was followed by the development of the Active Ageing Strategy during 2014 and acceptance as a member of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities in December 2014.
We have the oldest population in NSW and the third-oldest in Australia.
More than half of us (53.6%) are aged over 50, and almost 40% are over 60.
Our Local Government Area’s (LGA) population has double the state average of 60+ year olds (at 20.3%) and well above the regional average of 24.5%.
We also rank number 1 in New South Wales for dementia cases, which is directly related to our demographics.
The number of people in our local government area aged over 60 is expected to rise by 44.7% by 2036.
While the ‘young old’ appear to remain relatively static, the increase in the ‘older old’ is significant, particularly past the age of 70 years (when our current younger retirees become older).
We’re working across all sections of Council to consider our older population in everything we do.