O’Farrell throws local Government election into chaos

    Posted: Monday, 7 November 2011 | By: Sophie Cotsis

    Barry O'Farrell has botched his own changes to local government elections and failed to give councils enough time to implement his policy - throwing next year's local government elections into disarray.

    Shadow Minister for Local Government, Sophie Cotsis today agreed with the NSW Local Government and Shires Association's (LGSA), who today stated they have:

    "Extreme disappointment in Premier O'Farrell and his failure to adequately handle the return of the ability to conduct Local Government elections to councils."

    (Premier O'Farrell has failed, say council - Local Government and Shires Association of NSW Media Release, 7 November 2011)

    "In June this year, the O'Farrell Government passed legislation to give councils the choice of running their own elections, or having them run by the NSW Electoral Commission," Ms Cotsis said.

    "Labor opposed these changes because they were rushed and no support was being provided to councils to implement the changes.

    "We have always supported the NSW Electoral Commission administering local government elections. The NSW Electoral Commission is experienced and capable of delivering this service.

    "Barry O'Farrell botched these changes by refusing to give councils enough time to choose whether to run elections themselves or contract the NSW Electoral Commission.

    "Councils need time to assess the legal, financial and administrative arrangements involved in running an election.

    "The LGSA wrote to Barry O'Farrell in September asking him to extend the deadline for councils to decide from 30 November this year until March next year.

    "Barry O'Farrell has denied the LGSA's reasonable request for time to implement these changes.

    "The O'Farrell Government has also failed to provide any new funding or assistance to support councils seeking to administer their own elections.

    "Barry O'Farrell has thrown planning for next year's council elections into chaos, leaving councils without enough time to implement the O'Farrell Government's changes."

    Tags: Barry O'Farrell, councils, LGSA, local government, NSW Electoral Commission, Sophie Cotsis

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