COUNCIL ELECTIONS TO BECOME MORE AFFORDABLE

The NSW Government has committed almost $20 million in funding to reduce the cost of running next year’s local government elections for councils and their communities.

It comes after an Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal uncovered significant increases in council election costs, says
Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock.

“We will provide $19.9 million to fund the NSW Electoral Commission’s core costs for local government elections such as staff payroll, training, IT system development, and maintenance of the electoral roll,” Mrs Hancock said.

Councils will now only pay the direct costs such as polling booth staff, venues and ballot paper printing.

The cost per elector will be $8.21, compared to $12.72 when no Government funding was provided.

The Government is also looking to apply more modern practices to council polling from 2020 onwards, such as allowing full electronic nominations and electronic vote counting.

The option to use universal postal voting, instead of attendance voting, from the 2024 elections onwards will further reduce costs for local council and is hoped to increase participation rates.

IPART’s final report on the costs of local government elections can be accessed at https://www.olg.nsw.gov.au/strengthening-local-government/conduct-and-governance/council-elections