Nambucca Council votes to object to the IPART recommendation

In another example of cost shifting, the NSW Government wants to to stop subsidising election services to councils, saying this would clear the way for other election service providers to compete with the NSW Electoral Commission.

In his report to the July 11 meeting of councillors, Nambucca Council's Assistant General Manager, Corporate Services, Robert Hunt, said this would see a 62 per cent increase in the amount paid to the NSWEC for the 2016 council elections.

"For this council that means an additional $81,000, which is $52,000 more than what has been budgeted for the 2020 elections in the long-term financial plan," Mr Hunt wrote.

"IPART (Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal) is recommending that councils, rather than NSW taxpayers, pay the full efficient cost of election services.

"But ratepayers are also taxpayers and won't be any better off, and could even be worse off because of increased overheads."

He recommended the council make a submission to IPART objecting to the proposed increase - and if it is to be implemented requesting it be phased in after the 2020 elections to allow council sufficient time to set aside the additional funds.

In voting to support the recommendation, Cr David Jones noted in Victoria postal voting eliminated a lot of costs, including those of staffing poling booths.

The General Manager Michael Coulter said the NSW Government "refused to countenance" any alternatives to the status quo, which raised some councillor eyebrows ...

"Postal voting is OK for State and Federal elections, why are Local Governments one so different?" the mayor Rhonda Hoban asked.

Cr Anne Smyth said she voted online for the Federal election and found it simple and hassle-free.

Mr Hunt added this change was in direct conflict with the NSW Government's stated aim of "reducing the tax burden on ratepayers and councils" and that perhaps IPART "should be looking at other methods of voting".

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