Thirty two people have nominated for the nine seats on the South Gippsland Shire Council, and sitting councillor, Kieran Kennedy was not one of them at the close of nominations today.
Of them, eight are sitting councillors, with the Mayor Cr Bob Newton the last person to sumbit his nomination today.
It’s by far the biggest number of candidates to nominate for an election in the shire but it’s a trend that’s being replicated right around the state.
“It begs the question why?” asked non-aligned Korumburra businessman Mark Holmes.
“Are they single issue candidates with an axe to grind over planning or something or are they in it for the greater good of the shire?”
At Bass Coast, the story is the same.
At the close of nominations in Bass Coast today, a total of 24 candidates had submitted their names for the nine seats at the new Bass Coast council table, two more than the present regime.
“For this many to step forward, there’s obviously community dissatisfaction and it validates the poor rating Bass Coast has been getting, year after year, from the local residents in the State Government’s annual satisfaction survey,” said President of the Bass Coast Residents and Ratepayers Association, Kevin Grifin.
“I’m pleased to see a good number stepping forward. It would have been bad for the community if the current lot weren’t getting a contest.
“I imagine there’s several dummy candidates among them but we won’t know for sure unless they put out their own ‘how to vote’ cards because the preference information isn’t allowed into the voting packs anymore.
“Mind you, if that’s been done to reduce the effectiveness of dummy candidates, in getting people we don’t want elected, it could be a good outcome.”
Of the 24 who’ve so far nominated for the Bass Coast poll, five are councillors, but with the Mayor Cr Jordan Crugnale and Island councillor Andrew Phillips not standing again.
“The mood is definitely that people feel let down by this council. That’s the clear message, the silent majority have had enough,” Mr Griffin said.
“The waste of our money, the excessive rate increases. They only came to the rate cap kicking and screaming, the community is well aware of that. They wanted to introduce rates that were well over double that.
“The retribution has been shutting down community services that the community clearly wanted kept open like the Inverloch Transfer Station and the Wonthaggi Visitor Information Centre.
“We have been badly served by these people,” he said.
Here are the candidates who paid their $250 to stand, in nomination order:
Bunurong Ward (9): Jessica Harrison, Les Larke, Mohan De Run, Julian Brown, Max Wells, Brett Tessari, Mark Robertson, Neil Rankine, Peter Dalmau
Island Ward (9): Pamela Rothfield, Val Ogier, Kimberley Brown, Phil Wright, Ruth Partridge, Maurice Schinkel, Rodney Spottiswood, Stephen Fullerton, Michael Whelan
Western Port Ward (6): Clare Le Serve, Bruce Kent, Ashley Lamers, Geoff Ellis, Mikhaela Barlow, Bradley Drew.
Coastal-Promontory Ward (9): Mohya Davies, Matthew Sherry, Frank Oostermeyer, Ray Argento, Jeanette Harding, Jill Wilson, Alyson Skinner, Vincent Morfuni, Jeremy Rich.
Strzelecki Ward (10): Aaron Brown, Andrew McEwen, Lorraine Brunt, Ian Nicholas, Jim Forbes, David Wanless, Frank Hirst, David Amor, Viv Pepper, Robert Newton
Tarwin Valley (13): Maxine Kiel, Diana Tod, Don Hill, Ben Corcoran, James Fawcett, Steve Finlay, Nigel Hutchinson-Brooks, Graeme Winkler, Kim White, Graeme Heath, Philip Murphy, Rosemary Cousin, Meg Edwards.
Voters will get the opportunity to find out more about the candidates at a series of Q&A sessions around the region:
• At the Phillip Island Golf Club (Cowes) this Friday, September 23 from 7pm for Island and Western Port candidates only.
• At the Kilcunda Hall on Wednesday, September 28 at 7pm for all Bass Coast candidates (organised by the Small Coastal Townships Alliance on coastal planning issues).
• At Manna Gum Community House, Foster, Friday September 30 5pm – 7.30pm Coastal Promontory Ward only.
• There are tentative plans for a Q&A session at the Korumburra Community Meeting Room, for Tarwin Valley and Strzelecki candidates on Thursday, September 29 at 7pm (details later)
• Close of nominations, ballot draw Tuesday, September 20
• Candidate statements etc by 12 noon Wednesday, September 21
• Mailout of postal ballots from October 4-6
• Close of voting Friday, October 21
• Last day for letters to be received Friday, October 28
• Results not expected until the first week of November
At a candidates’ information night in Leongatha last week, several candidates quizzed returning officer Cheryl Bruce about the banning of ‘how to vote’ preferences from the voting packs and also how the complicated preference counting system works.
Several candidates lamented that they would have to spend thousands of dollars to get their personal how to vote cards out to voters.