SOUTH Gippsland Shire’s nine newly-elected councillors were to be officially declared at the Leongatha Memorial Hall at 1.30 pm on Tuesday November 9, 2021, only a few hours after this edition of The Mirror went to press.
First preference vote counting for each of the shire’s three wards, Tarwin Valley, Coastal/Promontory, and Strzelecki, ended late on Friday afternoon November 5, and strongly indicated there may be several first-timers next to one or two with previous local government experience at the new council’s first meeting.
Based on first preferences, these candidates were leading the field in each of the three wards:
- Coastal/Promontory Ward: Scott Rae, Mohya Davies and Sarah Gilligan.
- Tarwin Valley Ward: John Schelling and Clare Williams.
- Strzelecki Ward: Jenni Keerie and Michael Felton.
The vote counting method used for the South Gippsland general election was proportional representation, conducted by computer after each formal ballot was put into the Victorian Electoral Commission’s system by one of three data entry operators.
Final counting along with subsequent preference distribution ended on Monday afternoon November 8 and, following the completion of data entry, the VEC election manager Janine Taylor calculated the results for each ward on Tuesday morning.
Provisional results were published on the VEC website as they became known during the course of Tuesday morning, with election manager Ms Taylor scheduled to ceremoniously declare the final winners from the 24 candidates later that same day.
South Gippsland Shire Council chief executive officer Kerryn Ellis said “we are excited to hear the results of the South Gippsland election.
“Our councillor transition program will commence immediately after the election,” she said.
“Councillors will be officially sworn in on Tuesday November 16, 2021, and the Mayor will be elected on Wednesday November 17,” Ms Ellis said.
“The first Council meeting with the new Councillors will be held on Wednesday November 24, starting at 1 pm.”
Ms Ellis said the shire had “received advice from the VEC that, following the earlier issues with ballot distribution, the election is back on track and very high percentages of ballots have been returned.
“We look forward to the final count and the announcement of our new Councillors, and of course, welcoming them to South Gippsland Shire Council this week,” she said.
The new council replaces the Victorian Government-appointed three-member administration panel, which was in charge of the South Gippsland municipality from June 2019, following the sacking of the previous council elected in 2016.
The new council will serve a three-year term as opposed to the usual four years, and will go back to the polls alongside Victoria’s other local government areas in state-wide general municipal elections in 2024.
The final results of the 2021 South Gippsland Shire Council election are available on the VEC website at www.vec.vic.gov.au.