Thursday, April 25, 2024

$29m to boost local election coffers

NSW Minister for Local Government, Shelley Hancock, has announced an additional $29.1 million for the NSW Electoral Commission to ensure local councils and ratepayers do not foot the bill for election day delays caused by the COVID-19 Delta outbreak.

Mrs Hancock said the Government was committed to minimising the financial impacts for councils and communities already under significant pressure caused by the pandemic and extended lockdowns.

“This funding boost will ensure the Electoral Commission does not have to pass on additional costs, such as staffing, rent, equipment and advertising, to councils and communities already suffering financial impacts from COVID-19,” she said.

Based on advice from NSW Health and the NSW Electoral Commission, the decision to postpone the Local Government elections was made just two days before the closing of electoral rolls and opening of candidate nominations.

“Due to the COVID-19 health crisis in the middle of the year, the Government had no choice but to postpone elections a second time from September 4 to December 4 to protect the health and safety of voters, candidates and election staff.”

“This is why the Government is providing an additional $29.1 million to the NSW Electoral Commission to meet costs as a result of the additional three month deferral of Local Government elections,” Mrs Hancock said.

In addition, she said the Government will provide $150,000 through the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to meet the extra costs being faced by Fairfield and Penrith City Councils, which have engaged a private electoral service provider to conduct their elections.

“This latest $29.1 million funding boost to the NSW Electoral Commission is on top of the $57 million previously provided by the Government to meet the cost of holding full attendance voting compliant with COVID-19 requirements – equating to a total funding package of more than $86 million,” Mrs Hancock said.

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