Central Coast Mayor, Lisa Matthews, has described a State Government decision to defer the local government elections for one year as “sensible”, considering the current environment.
Local Government Minister, Shelley Hancock, announced on March 25 that the elections originally slated for September this year would be postponed until September 2021.
“The focus for government and the community right now is getting through this pandemic and putting in place the necessary measures to keep our community safe,” Cr Matthews said.
“The decision to postpone local government elections provides stability for our community in the face of adversity”
Minister Hancock said local government elections were a vital part of the democratic process, ensuring local councils are accountable to their local communities.
“Therefore, the decision to postpone them has not been taken lightly, but is necessary to ensure the health and safety of voters, NSW Electoral Commission staff and election candidates”, she said.
“This decision provides certainty for local councils, communities and election candidates.”
The move was also welcomed by Local Government NSW (LGNSW).
President, Linda Scott, said she was grateful that the Government had acted swiftly.
“There has never been a more important time for visionary local leadership that provides hope and guidance for each part of NSW,” Scott said.
“In light of the Minister’s decision to delay local elections, I know all elected councillors will continue to work across political boundaries to pull together for the public good.
“When asked to serve for an additional year, I’m confident mayors and councillors will understand the need to provide stability and continuity of governance.”
Scott said a small number of elected leaders may need to stand down and LGNSW would work with councils to support them during any necessary periods of transition.
Source: Media releases, Mar 25, 2020, Local Government Association and Minister for Local Government, Shelley Hancock. Media statement, Mar 26, 2020 Central Coast Mayor, Lisa Matthews