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2018 Council Elections

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Candidate Info Session 22082018

Nominating for a position on council

If you are eligible to vote in your local council elections, you are probably also eligible to stand for a position on council.

With very few exceptions (such as being an undischarged bankrupt, or being disqualified from holding office by a court order), you can nominate for a position on council regardless of qualifications, religion, race, gender, experience or profession.

In fact, councils actively encourage nominations from people from diverse backgrounds to ensure that a wide range of views are being represented. The Local Government Association and many councils run information sessions for potential candidates.

Nomination process

Nominations for the 2018 local government elections open Tuesday 4 September 2018 and close Tuesday 18 September 2018 at 12 noon. During this time, you must complete and lodge a nomination form which is available from you council and other advertised locations.

You will also be asked to lodge a 150-word candidate profile and a ‘head shoulders’ photograph which will be published on a candidates’ website.

For more information go to: www.lga.sa.gov.au/councilelections

Phone: (08) 8721 2555
Email: city@mountgambier.sa.gov.au
Civic Centre, 10 Watson Terrace, Mount Gambier SA 5290


Frequently Asked Questions

Elections for Local Government are held every four (4) years, and supplementary elections may also be held if a Mayoral or Councillor vacancies arise between general elections.

General elections for all positions on all Councils are held at the same time.

The last Local Government general elections were held in November 2014 and the next general elections are being held in November 2018.

The Local Government Election will be held in November 2018, with postal voting closing at 5pm Friday 9 November 2018.

All Council positions become vacant at a general local government election, that is the Mayoral position and all Councillor positions.

Separate elections are held for the position of Mayor and Councillors. These separate elections are conducted at the same time.

Whether a Mayoral or Councillor election is necessary depends on the number of candidates that nominate for each vacant position.

If only one (1) candidate nominates for Mayor, then that person will be elected unopposed. If there are more candidates then a Mayoral election will be held. If there are no Mayoral candidates then a supplementary election will be necessary

If there are more nominees for the position of Councillor than the number of vacant positions, then a Councillor election will be held. If the number of candidates is equal to or less than the number of Councillor positions available then all candidates will be elected unopposed.

If there are insufficient candidates to fill all vacant positions then a supplementary election will be held to fill the vacancies.

Following an elector representation review undertaken between April 2016 to April 2017, the Council for the City of Mount Gambier will be comprised of a Mayor and eight (8) Area Councillors.

Historically, the City of Mount Gambier was divided into Wards with Councillors elected for each Ward.

The community has been represented by Area Councillors for several four year Council terms following changes arising from an earlier Elector Representation Review.

The only difference between an Area and a Ward Councillor is the eligibility to nominate and/or vote. Ward eligibility is limited within the boundaries of each specific Ward area. Area Councillor eligibility is across the whole Council area.

The role of an Area and a Ward Councillor is exactly the same under the provisions of the Local Government Act 1999. All persons elected as a Member of Council represent the interests of residents and ratepayers, to provide community leadership and guidance, and to facilitate communications between the community and the Council.

Council undertook an Elector Representation Review between April 2016 and May 2017. An Elector Representation Review looks at aspects of a Council’s composition including the communities preference for:

• An Elected Mayor or a Chairperson selected from amongst elected Councillors
• A Ward or no Ward structure
• Number of Wards and Ward Names
• Area Councillors (in addition to Ward Councillors) 
• Number of Councillors.

The review includes consideration of the ratio of elected Council Members to the population of Electors comparative to other similar sized Councils.

The outcome of the Elector Representation Review was to reduce the number of Area Councillors from 10 down to 8 for an elector ratio of 1:2410 (i.e. 1 Area Councillor for each 2410 electors).

Participation in local government elections is encouraged but is not compulsory.

Local government is the level of government closest to the local community and the process of postal voting makes it simple for everyone who is entitled to vote.

If you are on the State (House of Assembly) electoral roll for your Council address you will automatically receive a voting pack in the mail in late October 2018.

If you have moved house or changed your name you will need to complete a new enrolment form, available from your local Post Office or the Electoral Commission SA.

If you are not enrolled on the House of Assembly roll you may be eligible to register on the council voters roll if:

• You have been a resident at your current address for one month and are not on the State Electoral Roll 
• You are a sole owner/occupier of rateable property 
• You are NOT an Australian Citizen but you have been a resident at your current address for one month 
• You are a landlord for rateable property 
• You are an organisation/business owner or occupier of rateable property 
• You are a group of owners or occupiers of rateable property.

For example: If you are not an Australian citizen, and not on the State (House of Assembly) electoral roll you can vote in a council election, as long as you are over 18 years of age and have lived in the council area for more than one month. You can also vote in a council election if you own a rateable property in the area, regardless of whether or not you live in it.

Businesses and bodies corporate may also be eligible to vote in council elections.

You must be registered on your council’s voters roll to be eligible under other criteria. Please contact your Council office to enquire or to obtain an application form to register.

Before you can vote, you must be enrolled to vote.

If you are enrolled to vote on the House of Assembly Roll (i.e. for State/Federal elections) for your correct address then you will automatically receive voting papers in the mail in late October 2018.

If you are not enrolled on the House of Assembly Roll but otherwise eligible to vote (see FAQ ‘Am I eligible to Vote?’) then you will need to be enrolled on the Council voters roll before it closes on 10 August 2018 in order to receive voting papers in the mail.

To vote you will need to follow the instructions on your postal voting papers and return then by 5pm on Friday 9 November 2018.

Incorrectly completed and late voting papers will not be eligible for inclusion in the election count.

The candidates for the 2018 City of Mount Gambier Elections will not be known until the close of nominations at 12noon on Tuesday 18 September 2018.

The local returning officer appointed by the State Electoral Commission will announce the candidates and their ballot draw (the order the candidates will be listed on postal voting papers) at about 4pm on Tuesday 18 September 2018.

Candidate information will be published on the Local Government Association (LGA) website. A link to the LGA website will accessible from the Council website.

Candidates for local government elections, similar to State and Federal elections, may place moveable signs on roads during the four weeks leading up to the polling day for the election.

Campaign signs can be expected to appear over the weekend of 15/16 October 2018 and should be removed by Monday 13 November 2018.

Council does not approve election campaign signs.

Provisions of the Local Government Act 1999 give specific exemptions for election campaign signs on roads meaning that Council cannot prohibit or disallow their placement.

However, this exemption only applies to road areas, not reserves and other public land, and only applies to moveable signs like regular sized corflute campaign signs.

Council does not permit election campaign signs to be placed on other public land that is not a road, and does not control placement on private land like business premises and residences.

Where signage exceeds certain size limits normal planning/development provisions apply.

As moveable election campaign signs having statutory exemptions, Council does not permit or control election campaign signs that are validly placed on roads.

Where an election campaign sign is placed at variance to such exemptions, this matter will be brought to the attention of the candidate or printer responsible for the election material for them to ensure compliance.

Council does not monitor and has no power to control the election material content contained on election campaign signs.

Election campaign signs and the material printed on them is the responsibility of the candidate and/or the printer.

Complaints or concerns regarding the placement and content of election campaign signs should be directed to the candidate and/or printer. The name of the candidate and/or name and address of the printer is required by legislation to be printed on the sign.

Complaints and concerns may also be directed to the State Electoral Commissioner who is the Returning Officer for the local government elections.

Complaints or concerns regarding election campaign signs on service authority infrastructure may be directed to the relevant authority (eg SA Water, SA Power Networks etc).

Council will investigate an election campaign sign that is located on Council land (other than a road area) only after the relevant candidate has had opportunity to rectify any discrepancy.

Election campaign signs are produced at the cost of the candidate and/or their supporters and it is their sole responsibility to remove and dispose of the signs after the election.

No, separate elections are held for the Mayoral and Councillor positions.

A candidate in local government elections can only nominate for one election.

This means that a candidate cannot nominate in both the Mayoral and Councillor elections, and has to make a decision whether they wish to run for Mayor or Councillor.

Accordingly, if a Mayoral candidate is not successful in winning the Mayoral election they cannot nominate to be a Councillor candidate until the next Councillor election is held (i.e. in four years or at a supplementary election – if held).

Similarly, a candidate cannot nominate for an election in the Mount Gambier area and in another Council area.

A candidate that nominates in two or more elections will be disqualified from all of those elections.

Councillors serve the community by listening to residents and local businesses, representing their views on Council.

Councillors make strategic decisions about how the Council will address the needs of the community. This includes setting objectives to meet local requirements, establishing priorities between competing demands, and deciding how resources should be raised and allocated.

Legislation and policies, together with the Council’s strategic management plans, provide the framework for the ongoing management and operation of the Council.

Councillors do not get involved in the day to day running of the Council, which is the responsibility of the Chief Executive Officer.

One of the most important roles of a Councillor is to participate in making policy decisions - establishing the rules, regulations and guidelines by which your community is governed - within the parameters of laws set by State Parliament.

The role of a Councillor will typically involve:
• Taking part in discussions and decision making at Council and Committee meetings
• Reading council agendas and business papers to prepare for meetings
• Reviewing strategic plans, policies and budget information
• Being available to discuss and advise community members on individual concerns and relay these through the appropriate channels
• Participating in civic events such as citizenship ceremonies and awards
• Representing Council on other bodies and meetings
• Visiting council facilities and liasing with the CEO on the progress of council projects
• Providing leadership within the community.

To keep in touch with electors, commitment as a Councillor may involve:

• Keeping informed about current state and national issues that may affect the area
• Attending meetings of local organisations
• Taking part in a range of local activities
• Meeting residents and businesses to understand their views
• Monitoring the local media to keep abreast of local news and issues.

The Mayor is the Principal Member of Council and in addition to the role of a Councillor has the following specific roles:

To preside at meetings of the Council

  • If requested, to provide advice to the Chief Executive Officer between Council meetings on the implementation of a decision of the Council
  • To act as the main spokesperson of the Council
  • To exercise other functions of the Council as the Council determines
  • To carry out the civic and ceremonial duties of the office of Principal Member.

In the Council Chamber during Council meetings the Mayor does not have a deliberative vote on matters to be decided by Council, but in the event of a tied vote has a casting vote.

Council Members are entitled to an annual allowance. This is not a salary.

The level of allowance is set by the SA Remuneration Tribunal that determines allowances for parliamentarians, judges and other statutory office holders. Allowances vary between Councils and are adjusted annually by a CPI-based formula during the council term.

Council Members are also entitled to receive reimbursement for some expenses incurred in the course of official duties as a Council Member. These expenses include travel and child care or care of dependants to enable attendance at Council or Committee meetings and official functions.

Council Policy may also allow reimbursement of other expenses such as telephone and internet costs incurred in the course of Council duties.

This is dependent upon the time an elected Council Member is able to allocate to their public duties.

Council must meet at least once in every month. Accordingly, as a minimum, the time of the meeting and time to read the agenda and reports must be expected. In addition to this most Council agendas are supplemented by Committee and Sub-Committee agendas and reports.

To ensure informed decision making as required by the Local Government Act 1999 Council also hold informal gatherings which include briefings and discussion on items of relevance to Council and the decision making process.

Together with engaging with the community that they are elected to represent, Council Members might allocate a greater or lesser amount of time to their public duties depending upon their availability and other commitments.

2014 Local Government Election City of Mount Gambier Statistics

Mayoral Election (1 vacancy)

Formal Ballot Papers 7401
Informal Ballot Papers 28
Quota 3701

8 Mayoral Candidates
Andrew Lee elected with 2894 First Preference Votes
Followed by Bob Sandow with 1840, Allen Smith with 767……

Area Councillor Election (10 vacancies)

Formal Ballot Papers 6866
Informal Ballot Papers 420
Quota 625

16 Area Councillor Candidates (Results below)

Council is required to meet at least once in every month. The City of Mount Gambier currently holds monthly Council meetings at 6pm on the third Tuesday of every month.

Several Council Committees (and sub-committees) also meet regularly throughout each month.

The public are welcome and encouraged to attend Council meetings to observe the formal decision making processes.

Council also holds informal gatherings and discussions which are also publicly accessible.

Council has several Committees (and sub-committees) that consider certain matters and make recommendations to Council.

Council’s current Committees and (Sub)Committees comprise:

  • Strategic Standing Committee
  • Operational Standing Committee
  • Environmental Sustainability Sub-Committee
  • Community Engagement and Social Inclusion Sub-Committee
  • Heritage Sub-Committee
  • Audit Committee
  • Council Assessment Panel
  • Building Fire Safety Committee
  • Junior Sports Assistance Fund
  • Regional Recreation & Sport Centre Committee
  • Chief Executive Officer Performance Review Committee.

Most Council and Committee (and Sub-Committee) meetings are held at the Civic Centre in Watson Terrace (opposite the Library).

Council meetings are held in the Council Chamber while other meetings are held in Committee Rooms.

Council meetings are currently held at 6pm on the third Tuesday of each month.

Other Committee and Sub-Committee meetings are held throughout each month on different days and times.

Notice of different Council and Committee (and Sub-Committee) meetings is given on the Council website.

Discussion at Council meetings covers a wide range of matters that are administered by Council and other matters of community interest upon which decisions are to be made.

These can include discussion on:
• Strategic direction documents which will guide the city into the long term future
• Budgets and business plans that resource service provision for each financial year 
• Policy documents which guide and direct how certain matters are to be administered
• Other current and emerging issues that arise that warrant formal consideration by Council.
• Reports on performance against strategic plans and business plans/budgets.

The public are welcome and encouraged to attend Council and Committee (and sub-committee) meetings to observe their elected Council in their decision making processes.

A public gallery is provided in the Council Chamber, and seating is made available to any observers at Committee (or Sub-Committee) meetings.

Anyone who wishes to speak or present (a deputation) at a Council meeting must seek the prior approval of the Mayor or the for a Committee (or Sub-Committee) from the Presiding Member.

A request to the Mayor or Presiding Member must be in writing to the Chief Executive Officer.

The community can engage with Council in several ways.

Council may actively seek to engage with the community through Council public consultation and other engagement methods in relation to a specific matter of community interest. In these instances specific contact details will be provided so that community contributions can be collated and reported to Council.

To engage with Council on any other matters you may contact us:

• by post – PO Box 56 Mount Gambier SA 5290
• by email – city@mountgambier.sa.gov.au
• by telephone – (08) 8721 2555
• in person – Civic Centre 10 Watson Terrace Mount Gambier (opposite the Library).

Communication addressed to Council Committees should clearly indicate the name of the relevant Committee.

Anyone who wishes to speak or present (a deputation) at a Council meeting must seek the prior approval of the Mayor or for a Committee (or Sub-Committee) from the Presiding Member. A request must be in writing to the Chief Executive Officer and the Mayor or Presiding Member will determine whether to allow the deputation.

As the elected representatives of Council the Mayor and Councillors may seek to engage with the community on any matter from time to time.

Contact details for the Mayor and Councillors are published on the Council website and candidate information is published on the Local Government Association website during the election period.