1 March 2024

Future election of Kiama's mayor in the hands of residents

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Elected representatives of Kiama Municipal Council.

Current Kiama councillors Mayor Neil Reilly, Warren Steel, Stuart Larkins, Mark Croxford, Imogen Draisma, Karen Renkema-Lang, Matt Brown, Jodi Keast and Kathy Rice. Photo: Kiama Municipal Council.

As well as voting for councillors at September’s local government election, Kiama residents will be asked if they would also like the option to directly elect their mayor.

Currently, the position of mayor is decided every two years by the sitting nine councillors.

Kiama is the only council in the Illawarra, Shoalhaven and South Coast where the mayor is decided by incoming councillors at their first meeting after an election.

Wollongong, Shellharbour, Shoalhaven, Eurobodalla and Bega voters all directly elect their mayor.

Last July, Kiama councillors voted to hold a referendum at the local government elections asking residents the question: Do you want to change to the direct (popular) election of the mayor by the voters of the Kiama Municipality, for a four (4) year term?

The question will be on a separate ballot paper and the outcome will be binding on council.

If approved, the change would come into effect for the local government elections in September 2028.

The number of councillors would remain at nine with candidates nominating for mayor and councillor or just councillor.

The process for electing the deputy mayor would not change, remaining with councillors who vote on the position every two years.

Voting in referendums is compulsory as is voting in local government elections.

Kiama Council will run an information campaign about the referendum in the lead-up to the election on 14 September.

Original Article published by Jen White on Region Illawarra.

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