The Minister for Local Government Paul Toole MP has been told to back off changing the method for election of the Lord Mayoral Office if the Government proceeds with the forced merger of Wollongong and Shellharbour City Council pending legal proceeding in the Land and Environment Court.

The Delegate’s report to the NSW Boundaries Commission has recommended that the popular election of Lord Mayor should be abolished and replaced by election by councillors only.

If the Minister accepts the Delegate’s recommendation, the Government will be imposing the same election method currently used in Shellharbour City Council.

This significant change proposed by the Delegate has so far escaped scrutiny.

Click here to see Member for Shellharbour, Anna Watson’s letter to the Minister today.  A copy has also been forwarded to the Member for Kiama, Gareth Ward MP.


Comments attributable to Anna Watson MP:

“I’m sending a clear message to the Minister to back off this change to the way local residents elect their Lord Mayor.

“It’s bad enough that the Minister has so far ignored the very strong, consistent opposition of local residents in the Shellharbour and Wollongong local government areas by intending to carry on with the forced merger proposal.

“Taking away the direct right of the people to vote for the Lord Mayor is simply unacceptable.

“If the Minister proceeds with the forced merger and also adopts the Delegate’s recommendation to abolish the right of the people to directly elect the Lord Mayoral office-holder, it will simply confirm that this whole process is a politically motivated gerrymander to benefit the Liberal Party in elections in September 2017.

“The Minister must knock this recommendation off immediately.”


13 May 2016