Local Government Elections – Saturday 4 December 2021. 

The date of the next ordinary local government elections is Saturday 4 December 2021 

Voting Eligibility
If you have the right to vote in federal or State elections, you also have the right to be enrolled as an elector at a local government election in the ward or council area you live in. When you enrol to vote, you will automatically be included on the residential roll for the ward or council area you live in. You must vote in local government elections in the ward or council area you live in.

Check if you can vote
If you're a resident in the Blue Mountains local government area you can check if your enrolment details are up to date with the Australian Electoral Commission: check.aec.gov.au. You must enter your details exactly as they appear on the electoral roll.

Non-residential enrolment for local government elections

Voting as a non-resident in a ward or council area
You are eligible to vote as a non-resident in a ward or council area if you are:

  • an owner of rateable land in the ward or council area 
  • an occupier or rate-paying lessee of rateable land in the ward or council area.

Non-residential rolls are prepared and certified by each council's general manager, and the NSW Electoral Commissioner must confirm that the voters listed are eligible for enrolment on the non-residential roll. However, you are responsible for checking that you are eligible for inclusion in the non-residential roll for a council or ward when you make an application. Please visit the NSW Electoral Commission for full details on how to vote as a non-resident:
www.elections.nsw.gov.au/Voters/Enrol-to-vote/How-to-enrol/Non-residential-enrolment

To access a Non- Residential Roll Application Form for the Blue Mountains Local Government Area please download here:

Non-residential Roll Nominee Application
Non-residential Roll Individual Application

An application for inclusion in the BMCC Non-Residential Roll must be received by the Chief Executive Officer of the Blue Mountains City Council by 6:00pm (EST) Monday, 25 October 2021.
By post:  Blue Mountains City Council, Locked Bag 1005, Katoomba, NSW 2780
By hand: Blue Mountains City Council, 2 Civic Place, Katoomba, NSW 2780 
By email: council@bmcc.nsw.gov.au 

Councillors

Councillors are elected for 4 years.

Although the number of councillors to be elected varies from council to council, each council is made up of between 5 and 15 councillors (one of whom is the Mayor).

Voters rank candidates in order of preference, and where there are 2 or more positions to be filled, a candidate needs to achieve a quota of the votes to be elected.

Mayor

As a general rule the councillors elect one of their number to be the Mayor. A Mayor elected by the other councillors serves a two year term.

After each Local Government election, the Division of Local Government surveys all councils. A report on the findings provides information about the representation of the community on local councils. As well as describing the characteristics of councillors and candidates such as gender, age and experience, the report identifies trends over time.

Legislation

Councils work within laws established by the NSW Parliament. The Local Government Act 1993 NSW (the Act) sets out the major powers, functions and responsibilities of councils based on modern community expectations. The Act gives NSW councils broad powers to independently plan for and manage local community services and facilities in consultation with their local community.

Councils have a legal obligation to provide services under Section 8 of the Act, called “The council’s charter”.

About Blue Mountains City Council

To assist you in making a well informed and considered decision about whether to stand for election as a councillor, see the Council section of the website.

NSW Electoral Commission Candidate seminars & help 

Visit the NSWEC website, https://www.elections.nsw.gov.au, for information on and contact details about:
•    The election timetable; 
•    Expenditure and political donations; 
•    How candidates are nominated; and 
•    The nomination period 

Candidate enquiries should be directed to: 
•    The NSW Electoral Commission candidate helpdesk telephone 1300 022 011, or 
•    Email candidates@elections.nsw.gov.au, or 
•    Visit the NSW Electoral Commission website: https://www.elections.nsw.gov.au 

NSWEC Candidate Information Webinars and Handbook 

A series of online candidate information sessions will be conducted by the NSW Electoral Commission (NSWEC) in the lead up to the 2021 NSW Local Government elections.

The webinars will be held from April to August 2021 and will cover the following topics:
•    Election overview
•    Election funding and disclosure
•    Registration of candidates, groups, and third-party campaigners
•    Electoral material (also known as how-to-vote material)
•    Nomination process
•    Early voting and election day voting
•    Candidate workers and scrutineers
•    Counting and results

You will find a recording of Candidate webinars at: https://elections.nsw.gov.au/Political-participants/Candidates-and-groups/Candidate-nominations-for-local-elections/Six-steps-to-being-a-candidate#webinars2 

The Candidate handbook can be found on the NSWEC website or by clicking the link below:
https://www.elections.nsw.gov.au/Political-participants/Candidates-and-groups/Candidate-nominations-for-local-elections/Six-steps-to-being-a-candidate

If you as a candidate have questions about the process or candidates’ obligations, please contact the NSWEC Candidates Team on 1300 022 011.

Extraordinary Council Meeting – Oath of Office and Election of the Mayor

Given the postponement of the Local Government Elections to 4 December 2021, an Extraordinary Council Meeting will be held on 23 December or within seven days of the results of the election being decided, whichever is earlier, in order for incoming members of the Governing Body to take the Oath of Office and to elect the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Alternative Deputy Mayor for Blue Mountains City Council.

Community Land for Street Stalls for Political Purposes  

The BMCC Policy on Local Approvals, section 68 Item D1 refers to the use of Community Land for Street Stalls for Political Purposes. It exempts the need for approval for a street stall for political purposes, but requires that the following criteria are met for the stall:

  • It must not within 5 metres of a bus stop, pedestrian crossing, taxi stand or intersection.
  • Only one table 2 metres x 1 metre to be used.
  • No more than three representatives to be in attendance at any one time.
  • No fund raising activities are to be carried out.
  • If located outside any shop must have the permission of the shop owner.
  • Not to include a public address system or the like nor cause offensive noise.
  • The organisation conducting the stall must display a sign on the stall, not on the footpath, indicating its name. No other signage will be permitted.
  • The stall must not obstruct or inconvenience pedestrian or vehicular traffic. A 2.5 metre wide unobstructed section of footpath is to be maintained at all times.
  • All litter and excess or discarded material (e.g., handouts, flyers etc) shall be collected and appropriately disposed of.

Any variation to the above criteria will require Council consent.

Political signs for election campaigns are regulated under the State Environmental Planning Policy No.64: Advertising and Signage.

Guidelines for Installation of Political Signage/Posters during the Local Government Elections 2021

The laws governing the installation of political signage and posters during the Local Government Elections 2021 must be strictly adhered to.

Advertising and signage if not proposed under a development application (DA) is subject to the State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) – Exempt and Complying Development Codes 2008. The following link is to the SEPP Exempt and Complying Development Codes 2008 https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/epi-2008-0572

Under subdivision 1 – General requirements for advertising and signage the following is relevant to placement of political posters/banners/signs:

•    Have the consent in writing of the owner of the land on which the sign is to be located and, if the sign or part of the sign projects over adjoining land, the consent of the owner of the adjoining land; and
•    Be approved under section 138 Roads Act 1993, if the sign or part of the sign projects over a public road, including a footway; and
•    Not obstruct or interfere with any traffic sign.

NOTE: where advertising occurs on public land, BMCC will remove the election signage. 

Section 2.106 and 2.107 of the SEPP contain further requirements for Election signage. 

The following link https://www.elections.nsw.gov.au/NSWEC/media/NSWEC/LGE21/LG-200-Candidate-handbookv2A.pdf is to the NSW Electoral Commission’s Candidate handbook.  

Section 15 is relevant to Electoral Material and section 15.3 relates to Posters, which supports the application of the State Environmental Planning Policy Exempt and Complying Development Codes 2008 for signage. 

Size of posters and their period of display 

The NSW Electoral Commission does not regulate the size of posters or the period of when they are displayed. 

Candidates and parties must also be aware of other laws about election posters that the NSW Electoral Commission does not regulate.

The State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 states election posters may also be ‘exempt development’ not requiring development approval. 
For example, to be exempt development a poster must (note that other conditions apply):” 
• not be more than 0.8m2 in area: and 
• be displayed only during the following periods:
− 5 weeks immediately preceding the day on which the election is held 
− the day on which the election is held 
− 1 week immediately following the day on which the election is held. 

The NSW Electoral Commission does not regulate these laws. Council is the Appropriate Regulatory Authority to enforce the placement of electoral signage that is contrary to the provision of the Exempt Development Codes SEPP summarised above and particularly in locations that are not permitted, being land under the control of Council. 

Once the regulated period commences for the local government election, the NSW Electoral Commission regulates the display of posters in two general ways:
•    whether it complies with requirements about its content, e.g. incorrect or misleading information about voting, that it includes the name and address of the person authorising the material, etc. 
•    whether it has been placed in or on certain places, e.g. posters are not permitted on certain premises, or within 6 metres of venues at which people are voting, etc.

The Regulates period commences Monday 25 October 2021, according to the NSW Electoral Commission website:
https://www.elections.nsw.gov.au/Elections/Local-government-elections/Local-Government-Elections-2021

Complaints may be referred to the NSW Electoral Commission once the regulated period is commenced.


 

Regulated Election Period

The NSW Electoral Commission has advised that the regulated election period for the 4 December 2021 local government elections is from Monday, 25 October to 6pm, Saturday 4 December 2021.

During this time all electoral material (how-to-vote cards, posters, letter box drops, social media etc.) must comply with the provisions of the Local Government (General) Regulation 2021.

A person must not, during the regulated election period, print, publish, distribute or publicly display electoral material (other than the announcement in a newspaper of the holding of a meeting), without legibly showing on the material:

  • the name and address of the person on whose instructions the material was printed, published, distributed or displayed and 
  • if the material has been printed, the name of the printer and the street address of the premises at which it was printed. 

The address of a person means an address, including a full street address and suburb or locality that is located in Australia at which the person can usually be contacted during the day, but does not include a post office box. A street address of the premises does not include a post office box number or a DX number. 

Authorisation requirements may vary depending on the type of material. Further details can be found in section 15 of the Candidate Handbook.
The above would also capture a ‘Yes/No’ case, prepared by Council or any other organisation or person, in relation to a Referendum or Poll.

Registration of Electoral Material System

The NSW Electoral Commission has advised that Electoral material (how-to-vote cards) for distribution on election day must be registered with and approved by the Electoral Commissioner. 

The registration of electoral material period commences on Wednesday, 3 November 2021 and closes at 5pm, Friday, 26 November 2021.
The NSW Electoral Commission has developed an online registration system for the registration of electoral material, the system will be available from the NSW Electoral Commission website from Thursday, 4 November.

Posters are not required to be registered but they must comply with the requirements detailed in the Candidate Handbook

Display of electoral material on website

The NSWEC has advised that registered electoral material will be displayed on the NSW Electoral Commission website from Monday, 22 November 2021 until 6.30pm, Saturday 4 December 2021.