NSW Council Elections Postponed

Mayor Ryan Palmer will sit at the helm of Port Stephens Council for an unprecedented term. Photo by Marian Sampson.

 

FOR some in Port Stephens the news that the Council elections are being postponed yet again will be a blow.

To others a windfall.

The Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock MP has postponed the NSW Council elections until 4 December 2021.

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A NSW Government Gazette dated 24 July 2021, stated, “I, the Hon. Shelley Hancock MP, Minister for Local Government, in pursuance of section 318C of the Local Government Act 1993 (“the Act”), do hereby revoke the Order made on 26 June 2020 which postponed the election requirements of the Act for all councils in New South Wales to 4 September 2021.

“I hereby appoint 4 December 2021 as the day on which the ordinary elections for all councils in New South Wales are to be held.”

This will see Mayor Ryan Palmer sit in office for a total of 4 years and 3 months, more than a third longer than the expected period.

The announcement came at the time when normally candidates would be making announcements on their intentions to run for election.

In Port Stephens we are already seeing candidates getting out into the community and stating their cases for election as your voice in the future.

With the postponement of the vote the election requirements of the Act are suspended for the period specified in the order and current councillors will continue to hold their civic offices.

Popularly elected mayors will continue to hold their office until an ordinary election is held.

The dates for enrolling to vote have shifted and all electors enrolled for federal and state elections at 6pm Monday, 25 October 2021 will be included on the roll and entitled to vote at the 2021 Local Government elections.

Voting is compulsory.

For voters knowing your status and how to vote is important.

iVote will also be available and operate in the same way it does for state elections.

Additionally, the existing eligibility criteria for those able to use postal voting has been expanded to include:
permanent or temporary residents in a hospital, nursing home, retirement village or similar facility; anyone self-isolating because of COVID-19 related reasons; and anyone who reasonably believes attending a polling place on election day will pose a risk to their health or safety of themselves or those around them, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can check your enrolment online at the NSW Electoral Commission.

You can also register for SMS notifications for when you are required to vote.

In Port Stephens your vote could be one which endorses high rise in foreshore areas and townships or one which supports building sporting facilities.

It could be one which improves amenity and pathways or one that delivers environmental outcomes.

Voting is not a chore, it is a right in which we should be proud to partake.

 

By Marian SAMPSON

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