BY OLIVIA DILLON
The upcoming local government elections have been postponed for a second time, as the current COVID-19 outbreak continues to worsen throughout the state.
On Saturday, the NSW Minister for Local Government, Shelley Hancock, confirmed the election, already a year late, has been pushed back from September 4th to December 4th for all NSW councils except the Central Coast.
The fate of the Central Coast election is in the hands of Council administrator, Dick Persson.
Newcastle Lord Mayor, Nuatali Nelmes, was disappointed following the announcement and questioned the need for another postponement, saying every other state could manage COVID-safe elections during the pandemic.
“Elections could have proceeded as originally planned in regional NSW and places like Newcastle with additional COVID-safe measures in place.”
“Other states have held their elections during the pandemic; there was a by-election held in Brisbane yesterday.”
Cessnock Labor Councillor, Jay Suvaal, said that while he understood the health advice, he did not think it should have come to this.
“While I support the health advice and believe people’s safety must come first, I strongly believe it should not have come to this. We are now, again, seeing the results of Federal and State Liberal Governments failing to manage the pandemic response properly.”
“We are fortunate that our community of Cessnock has mostly been spared the worst of the pandemic, but the failings of the Prime Minister and Premier cannot be allowed to continue. They must take action now in the best interest of the people. The community of Cessnock deserves better. The people of NSW and Australia deserve better,” he said.
Councillor for Maitland, Phillip Penfold, was also disappointed with the news, but said that it would not effect his bid to become Mayor.
“I’ll still be contesting the mayoralty and I have team of candidates that are eager to run in each ward so we look forward to it. We were ready for the 4th of September and we will be even more ready for the 4th of December.”