Price hike: Cost of council elections set to go up

92.9fm LOCAL NEWS

  • Toni Ambrogetti

Price hike: Cost of council elections set to go up


Less venue choices and larger geographical areas are just two reasons why regional areas, such as Tamworth, pay for more local elections than their city counterparts.


This year, Tamworth's bill is projected to be up 33 per cent from $317,000 in 2016/17 to $420,511.


The data was released by the Shadow Minister for Local Government, Greg Warren, after documents were obtained via the Government Information Public Access Act.


Mr Warren added while all councils will incur larger costs compared to the last local government elections, rural and regional communities will be subject to the biggest increases.


Chris Webber, Tamworth Regional Council's director of corporate and governance, said there are a number of factors which will mean the cost of the 2020 Local Government Election is higher than in 2016.


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However, he said council is making every effort to “maximise cost savings without compromising the robustness of the election”.


“The quote TRC received from the Australian Electoral Commission to run the election is based on the highest potential costs and we are working to reduce costs where possible,” he said.


“The commission has expressed a willingness to work together to reduce costs where possible such as using council venues as polling locations.


“Changes to the Local Government Act in regards to newspaper advertisements will also help to lower costs.”


Mr Webber suggested factors which have added to the cost of the election include increased technology and wages, increased staffing for the safety of election workers, increased call centre costs and increased cost of hire of schools and halls.


He added there is a range of possible reasons contributing to rural and regional councils having the largest cost increases.


“One likely reason is larger geographical areas which mean more polling booths are needed in some areas to cater for a broad geographical spread of voters,” he said.


“This, in turn, requires higher numbers of election staff and travel time for supervisors. Another reason may be less choice in the venues available for hire.”

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