Deputy Leader of the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party and Member for Orange Philip Donato MP is calling on the NSW Government to reinstate council elections, so that local communities’ democratic voice is returned and they can elect representatives to initiate recovery and renewal.

“Many local communities across regional New South Wales have suffered economic ravages from years of devastating drought, unprecedented bushfires and now COVID-19.

“Their financial rebuild requires the input of community, and that their voices be heard.

“I’m calling on Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Local Government, Shelley Hancock, to reinstate a 2020 date for Local Government elections and restore the democratic voice to our local communities,” said Mr Donato.

“The pandemic is causing NSW Government to make many rapid decisions, but postponing the September 2020 Local Government elections for twelve months is a decision that was made with unnecessary haste.

“To delay democracy for a whole year will delay economic healing and development, such a lengthy delay is unnecessary and no longer justifiable.

“We have the capability to conduct elections in a safe manner, by following health advice and adhering to social distancing at booths.

“Postal or electronic voting may now play an increasing part in how we all vote.   

“As we emerge from COVID restrictions to restore life in our towns and villages, our communities need renewed leadership to bring about positive change.

“As we emerge from restrictions the people want to have their say about what happens in their hometowns.

“As public health order restrictions continue to ease, there is no further need of delaying Local Government elections, and locals having their say in who is elected is an important part of how communities cohere and how they will recover post-COVID,” Mr Donato said.