With just over a year until Local Government elections in NSW, candidates have already begun to emerge. There are three Councils I’m usually interested in: Wingecarribee; Wollondilly; and Wollongong. Of those three, Wollongong has recently had elections after several years without an elected Council and the new Councillors will serve five years rather than four. So my usual habit of speculating on election results is slightly less complex than it might otherwise have been.
In Wingecarribee, there are nine serving Councillors. I suspect four will not re-nominate. Those four are:
- Robertson farmer Jim Mauger;
- Greens Councillor Jim Clark;
- Mittagong’s Paul Tuddenham; and
- Former mayor Duncan Gair.
Liberal Juliet Arkwright, Mayor Ken Halstead, Deputy Mayor Larry Whipper, Labor’s Graham McLaughlin and former Lib David Stranger will go around again. Ex-Councillors Nick Campbell-Jones and Malcolm Murray may attempt a return. Other probable candidates include activist-for-everything Ian Scandrett (who stood with Jim Mauger in 2008), Moss Vale agitator Alan Hunt and Southern Highlands Coal Action Group organiser Peter Martin. Finally, Greg Franklin, a vocal Council critic due to an ongoing dispute over a sewer pipe, may also join the throng.
In 2008, there were about 70 candidates on the Wingecarribee ballot paper. However, many of them we’re driven by support or opposition to particularly divisive issues such as the leisure centre proposal, so I don’t expect to see similar numbers in 2012.
I’m going to hold fire on Wollondilly for now, because I’m not right across all the local campaigners, but I will put some thoughts together soon.