SOUTH Gippsland Shire officially has a new crop of councillors following more than two years in administration.

The election had one of the highest ballot pack return rates across the state, demonstrating “democracy in South Gippsland is alive and well”, according to council chief executive officer Kerryn Ellis.

The results were declared at 1.30pm today, starting with the Coastal Promontory Ward, followed by the Strzelecki Ward and Tarwin Valley Wards.

Six of the nine councillors attended the event: John Schelling, Mohya Davies, Clare Williams, Jenni Keerie, Sarah Gilligan and Scott Rae. Absent: Adrian Daraki, Michael Felton and Nathan Hersey.

Ms Ellis recognised the Victorian Electoral Commission team’s work throughout the election.

“It certainly has not been a smooth election,” Ms Ellis said, in reference to ballot pack delays which saw the election period extended by a week while new packs were mailed out by Australia Post.

“Thank you for handling that interruption in the professional way that you did; we really appreciate it.”

Ms Ellis also congratulated the new councillors.

“It would be an understatement to say that as an as an organisation, we are incredibly excited to have councillors back in, to have local people representing our community in council.

“And we’re very delighted to welcome you and to be working with you over the next few weeks to really help you understand our business and also to listen to you and to hear about what you’re excited about and what you want to achieve in your terms.

“Also, to the other candidates in the room that weren’t successful this time, thank you so much for taking an interest in local democracy.

“It was really heartening to see the… number of members of our community that were willing to put themselves out there and invest the time and effort that it takes to run as a councillor.

“And whether or not you win or lose, you make it a really energetic and a fantastic election that gives people choice.”

And the community really responded, Ms Ellis said.

“We’ve seen return rates that are incredibly high – much higher than what we saw here in our last election – and they’re amongst the highest across the state.

“It demonstrates that local democracy in South Gippsland is alive and well. That’s a great outcome.

“For those that were unsuccessful, we really hope that we might see you again in a future election. But in the interim, that you’ll also get involved with all the activities that this council will be running in terms of their vision and their agenda for the next three years because there’ll be lots of opportunity for community members to be involved in all of those things.”

The official event was followed by an afternoon tea attended by councillors and shire officials.

 

Elected were as follows:

* Coastal Promontory Ward: Sarah Gilligan, Scott Rae and Mohya Davies.

* Strzelecki Ward: Jenni Keerie, Mick Felton and Nathan Hersey.

* Tarwin Valley: John Schelling, Clare Williams, Adrian Darakai.