Residents up in arms at no election

Story appeared in the Canterbury Express  | August 23rd, 2016

Calls for merged council voting to be this year

WITHOUT representation at both state and local levels, Canterbury-Bankstown residents came in droves to voice their anger at a meeting last week.
More than 200 people gathered at Riverwood Community Centre last Wednesday for a meeting calling on the NSW Government to bring forward the Canterbury-Bankstown council elections.

While many councils will hold their elections in two weeks, Canterbury-Bankstown- like all merged councils will have to wait until September 9, 2017.

Residents in the state seat of Canterbury will also have to wait until November 12 for a by-election.
Wednesday’s meeting was organize by ALP Lakemba state electorate council secretary and former Canterbury deputy mayor Karl Saleh. Labor representatives attended, including Lakemba MP Jihad Dib, former NSW premier Morris Iemma and Opposition spokesman for local government Peter Primrose, Some former Canterbury councilors, including ex-mayor Brian Robson, were also there.

Many in the audience were asking why the delay for council elections.
“There is no reason to wait more than 12 months for the (local government) elections” Mr Saleh said. – “It’s not acceptable.”
However the NSW Government said that it would be “impossible” to hold elections for new councils in September 2016.

A spokesman for Local Government Minister Paul Toole said the delay was necessary to ensure the Electoral Commission and councils have adequate time to prepare.

“The time allows administrators to successfully integrate the council organisations in time for the election of councilors to new councils,” the spokesman said. The Government had originally promised to hold elections for merged councils in March. Mr Primrose said the delay was “grossly undemocratic”