On September 9 2017 Local Government Elections will be held for some council’s in NSW. Oberon will be looking for nominees to represent the community for the next three years as a councillor. The role of a Councillor is an important one; decisions made by council have an impact on people’s lives therefore not to be taken lightly. Councillors are expected to provide leadership, represent community views and make sure local needs are met. Amongst other things this involves positively directing Council’s affairs, overseeing the allocation of precious resources to projects for the benefit of the Oberon Local Government Area, policy development and ensuring Council's performance in relation to delivering services is meeting community expectation. As a “roadmap” council has an overarching document - the “community strategic plan” in place. Reviewed annually, this plan sets out the aims and aspirations of council and directs how these will be achieved in the areas of:
Responsive and Caring
The Office of Local Government is currently reviewing the professional development of elected representatives and as at September councillors will be expected to undergo initial and ongoing mandatory training to ensure they meet key performance indicators (KPI’s). This is a positive step forward in my view. Also under review is the Code of Meeting Practice and Model Code of Conduct which strictly governs the behaviour of councillors, if you are thinking of nominating for the role I strongly recommend you familiarise yourself with the current version of these documents now. For basic information I also recommend you look at councils policy documents (some of which are currently under review) these documents are available on the council website. And the best advice I can offer is that you attend council meetings which will enable you to get an overview of how council conducts business.
In the lead up to the election there are some deadlines that must be met if you are planning on nominating for election to Council.
As at this time dates you should be aware of are:
• 31 July 2017 - Close of Electoral Roll (6.00 pm) Nominations as a Candidate for the Election open
• 9 August 2017 - Close of Nominations (12.00 pm), Registration of Electoral Material (how-to-vote) commences
• 28 August 2017- Pre-poll voting opens
• 1 September 2017 - Registration of how-to-vote closes (5.00 pm)
• 4 September 2017 - Postal vote applications close (5.00 pm)
• 8 September 2017 - Pre-poll voting closes (6.00 pm)
• 9 September 2017 - Election Day
• 11 September 2017 - Return of postal votes closes (6.00 pm)
The Office of Local Government (www.olg.nsw.gov.au) has information for prospective candidates.
Being a Councillor demands time but can be rewarding, it provides an opportunity to make decisions that help people within your community, influence the long-term strategic direction of the LGA, learn new skills such as public speaking and advocacy, and work with a diverse range of people on a wide range of issues. In NSW women make up just over half of the population but only about a quarter of all Elected Representatives. Women can connect with many different groups in the community and bring diverse views to Council. In comparison to many other councils Oberon has a good track record in female representation, I personally encourage women to stand for election and to have a direct say in council decisions which influence the lives of people, families and communities.
So….are you keen to get started? If so I am happy to conduct a very informal round table where we can chat and you can ask any questions at all about what the role of councillor involves and time required to be an effective representative. I can also provide any of the aforementioned documents for your perusal. Please ring Sharon Swannell on 6329 8151 and indicate your interest, I will then set a date convenient to all. Council will follow up with more formal workshops for prospective candidates over the coming months.
Clr Kathy Sajowitz - Mayor