Legislative Council: Tuesday, May 02, 2023


Local Government Elections

In reply to the Hon. F. PANGALLO ().22 February 2023).

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector): The Minister for Local Government has advised:

The Local Government (Elections) Act 1999 (the act) provides a process where council vacancies within the first 12 months of the periodic election can be filled by a re-count process. The act sets out the specific situations where this can occur.

Under the act, the re-count process cannot be used to fill vacancies in principal member positions (mayors), and it also cannot be used when an election was uncontested.

Therefore, it appears that at least 14 vacancies may require a supplementary election to fill the vacant position, as the re-count process would not be applicable. These elections could cost around $7,000 to $40,000, depending on the size of the council, with a total estimated cost in the order of $240,000.

Considering this, it is the South Australian government's view that it is not acceptable that communities and ratepayers bear the trouble and the cost of replacing a large number of council member positions. Accordingly, specific legislation has been developed to address all 45 vacancies created through members' failures to lodge their campaign donations returns.