Saturday was a historic day in Tumut, Tumbarumba and surrounds. It was the first time residents turned out to vote for their chosen representatives in the new Snowy Valleys Council.
After a contentious amalgamation announcement, eighteen months of protest and a herculean effort to combine two very different council bureaucracies, a return to normalcy is one step closer.
Nearly 8000 people formally voted this weekend, and the results are expected to be finalised, with the successful candidates announced, this week. First preferences have been counted, but postal votes didn’t officially close until six p.m. yesterday, and all votes still need to be checked by the NSW Electoral Commission working out of Queanbeyan.
However, as of Monday, Tumbarumba businessman and active community member Bruce Wright is the most popular man in the Snowy Valleys, with 21 per cent of the vote. Following him are James Hayes, John Larter, Julia Ham, and Cate Cross.
Out of the ten candidates, nine will be elected to council – but that does not necessarily mean the the person with the lowest number of first preference votes will be the one to miss out. Local government elections operate on a quota system. Once each candidate achieves a certain amount of votes, the remaining preferences on that candidate’s #1 ballots are distributed according to a complex formula. We won’t know how this falls until it’s calculated by the NSW Electoral Commission, with all of the NSW council results announced at the same time.
However, as of Monday, the candidate with the least amount of first preference votes was long-time former councillor Audrey McKenzie, who said she was nevertheless feeling positive about the incoming council.
“I’m feeling excellent,” she said.
“It’s a very good cross-section of the council area elected, which bodes well for a good representation. It’s what I wanted.
“The community has elected the candidates they feel will serve the Snowy Valleys Council for this term, and I’m quite pleased with the result.”