21 December 2021

Lake issues help float new-look Wagga council

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Water skiing on Lake Albert

Concerns about Lake Albert’s ongoing issues struck a note with Wagga Wagga voters. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

It will be a new-look council in Wagga Wagga that gathers for its first meeting on 10 January with more than half of the seats to be occupied by first-time councillors.

The result of the 4 December local government election was a decisive one for the group led by Lake Albert campaigner Mick Henderson, whose battles with council over the lake’s ongoing issues resonated.

Such was the response from voters, his group managed to secure two seats on the council and almost picked up a third, with former councillor Paul Funnell pipped at the post by first-time candidate Georgie Davies.

As with Mr Henderson’s group, Ms Davies’ team ran on a platform of change for the council and an enhanced focus on ensuring the basic needs of the community are being met.

READ ALSO Vandals attack safety equipment at Wagga Wagga Beach

Country Labor will also have two seats at the council with Dan Hayes being returned and he will be joined by another new face in Amelia Parkins who held the second place on the group ticket.

The third person on the Labor ticket – former councillor Vanessa Keenan – did not secure enough votes to be elected.

The Henderson-led group dominated the poll receiving 25.46 per cent of the formal votes, shading Country Labor which attracted 23.04 per cent.

Former mayor Rod Kendall’s group was the next best winning 12.26 per cent of first-preference votes and former deputy mayor Dallas Tout securing 10.04 per cent.

The Greens will again have a voice on council with Jenny McKinnon’s ticket receiving 9.13 per cent of formal votes.

Tim Koschel, who sat on the previous council, was also re-elected with the next highest vote count of 2618 first preferences.

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Counting continued this week and was finalised on Tuesday, 21 December, two days earlier than expected.

The referendum to have voters elect the mayor looks destined to be lost.

As counting continues on the referendum, the vote for the status quo where councillors elect the mayor, currently leads by 614 votes having attracted 50.82 per cent of the vote.

The new-look council is:

  • Dan Hayes
  • Rod Kendall
  • Mick Henderson
  • Richard Foley
  • Amelia Parkins
  • Dallas Tout
  • Jenny McKinnon
  • Tim Koschel
  • Georgie Davies

Referendum to have a popularly elected mayor:

Yes: 49.18 per cent

No: 50.82 per cent

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I didn’t want voters to elect Mayor because we could have ended up with a mayor only 15% voted for plus the councillors are the ones who have to work together and should choose their leader.

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