The Minister for local Government, Shelley Hancock, recently announced that due to the Covid 19 outbreaks, the NSW Local Government elections have now been deferred to 4 December 2021.
While the announcement doesn’t come as a surprise to many who have been following the spread of the virus throughout Sydney and the central coast and the NSW Government’s feeble attempts at managing the crisis, it does come as a disappointment to many locals who have been looking forward to their opportunity to express their concerns and outrage at the ineptitude of the MidCoast Council through the ballot box.
Many residents watching the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, were surprised to see an advertisement screened on Prime 7 entitled ‘Choose Wisely’ featuring 12 locals of varying ages and backgrounds urging the local community through very clear statements such as to: ‘Be informed’, ‘It’s our future’ ‘Make your vote count’ ‘Vote for a person not a political party” ‘Put our community first, ‘Vote for a genuine independent’.
Former Emeritus Mayor of Greater Taree City Council, Paul Hogan, who funded the community service advertisement was delighted with the results.
“ We want to encourage the community to think carefully about who they should vote for. Council is now a very big business which could play an important and positive role in our lives, so its essential that we have people with the right levels of expertise elected, and not just well meaning amateurs. It’s a $280 million a year business!
“The current Council has failed on too many levels, and not just some of the elected Councillors, but the Administration. Things have to change. We need strong, intelligent leadership which can effectively direct the administration through strong financial management and sound policies. For this, you need people who understand how organisations of such scale operate and how to lead them.
“Councillors are elected to represent the community and not be apologists for the failings of the Administration. The power balance has to be reversed and the elected Councillors need to be in charge of the Administration. So even though the election date was changed, we quickly updated the advertisement inserted the new date and continued to run it during the Olympics as we want people to think about and be informed when the election comes around.”
Following the screening of the Choose Wisely Commercial, there has been a scramble to announce Groups around Taree, all planning to run at the December 4 elections, and rather curiously, all advocating to be ‘Independents’. (Perhaps a topic to investigate another time.)
MidCoast Councillor Peter Epov, who is an actual independent, has not yet formally announced that he is running at the MidCoast Council Elections, was also concerned at the delay in the election date:, saying-
“Whilst it is very disappointing that the election has been delayed, the health, safety and wellbeing of our community has to come first. The way things are evolving there is a strong possibility that the Delta variant may spread to us, and it only takes one person to create an outbreak.
“Hopefully this delay will give people some extra time to fully digest the significance of the next Council election, get to know the candidates that are running, as well as their capabilities, and to Choose Wisely!”
(The Manning Community News also hopes that residents will use the additional time to better understand who to vote for at the Council elections as the voting procedure can be complicated, and perhaps, also discern whom not to vote for! Ed.)
The Choose Wisely TV Commercial was headed up by Michelle Larin, Old Bar resident, and a talented infrastructure and projects lawyer, who formerly worked at MidCoast Council as the Legal and Property Manager.