A suggestion from a Greater Western Sydney council would keep Central Coast Council under its current administration for five years, rather than four.
Camden Council suggests the current councillor term for the 128 councils in NSW should be allowed to run to 2025 so it’s a full four term.
The idea will be voted on at the NSW Local Government conference which is being held next week in Sydney.
If adopted, the association would lobby the State Government to consider the change.
The current term of councillors was shortened to less than three years due to the delays in holding the elections, which were scheduled for September 2020 but were pushed back to December 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the Central Coast didn’t get to vote at the 2021 elections as our councillors were still suspended from the October 2020 financial crisis.
Our councillors were sacked in March 2022 as recommended by a public inquiry.
We have been under administration since they were suspended.
Camden reckons it would result in the deferral of election costs for councils by one year on an ongoing basis, which would be beneficial for the cash flow and forward planning of councils.
Administrator Rik Hart will attend the conference and has voting rights.
He might have a word to Newcastle Council which has incorrectly alleged in one of its motions that “Central Coast Council incurred a cost of $1.775 million to hold its 2021 referendum” when in fact that referendum was deferred and is now planned to be held at the 2024 elections.
The referendum will ask us if we want to reduce the number of councillors from 15 to nine and reduce the wards from five to three.
Newcastle says the process of a constitutional referendum for determining the number of councillors is outdated and unfairly places a considerable financial impost on councils.
The council wants the NSW Local Government association to note the urgent need for reform of the administration and financial modelling of local government “following decades of state government cost-shifting, under resourcing, rate-capping, asset and services transfers, forced amalgamations, transfer of decision-making powers from elected councillors to the administration, and removal of planning powers, to name a few significant issues”.
It says the Local Government Act is 30 years old and in urgent need of review.