The current elected councillors for the Lachlan Shire will continue in their roles for at least another 12 months, after the state Government made a decision to postpone the 2020 Local Government elections which were scheduled for September.
This will see John Medcalf OAM (A Ward), Brian Nelson (A Ward), Melissa Rees (B Ward), Melissa Blewitt (B Ward), Dave Carter (C Ward), Peter Harris (C Ward), Elaine Bendall (D Ward), Dennis Brady (D Ward), Mark Hall (E Ward) and Paul Phillips (E Ward) all maintain their councillor status until September 2021.
Lachlan Shire Council received advice from Local Government Minister Hon. Shelley Hancock MP that, “to provide certainty to councils, communities and potential candidates, the NSW Government has made the decision to postpone the September 2020 local government elections in the face of the COVID-19 crisis” last week.
The Minister stated that local government elections are a vital part of the democratic process in which 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 stated.
The decision follows Parliament passing amendments to the Local Government Act which provided the Minister with the power to postpone the elections for 12 months with a possible further extension to 31 December 2021 should the need arise. The independent Electoral Commissioner has also requested that the Government postpone the council elections.
“I intend to make an order which will be published in the Government Gazette to postpone the 2020 local government elections,” the Minister said. “It is the Government’s intention that these council elections will be held in September 2021.”
The Minister said the postponement of the next elections will not change the future schedule of council elections and the subsequent elections will still proceed in September 2024.
Current councillors and popularly elected mayors will continue to hold their civic offices until the rescheduled local government elections are held.
Mayoral elections will need to be held for mayors elected by councillors in September 2018 when their two-year terms expire this year. Mayors elected in September 2019 will continue to hold office until September 2021 once the new election date is gazetted.
John Medcalf OAM is the elected Mayor and Paul Phillips is the elected Deputy Mayor at this time.
By Melissa Blewitt