Voters urged to have say
’Not enough’ advertising spurs fears for low turnout of voters
BLACKTOWN Council candidates fear a low turnout at Saturday’s election as voter apathy and confusion conspire to keep residents away.
Labor candidate for Ward 1 Chris Quilkey said many people he met on the hustings seemed unaware there was a local government election in Blacktown.
“I’m standing outside the pre-poll now and people are seeing the posters there and saying, ‘Is there an election on? We didn’t know’,” he said.
Not all NSW councils are holding elections on Saturday. Those councils forced to merge will hold elections next year.
Mr Quilkey said the mergers had caused confusion and there had not been enough advertising to inform residents they needed to vote.
Ward 1 Liberal candidate Jess Diaz said July’s Federal Election caused some confusion.
“A lot of people say they just voted in the federal election, so they’re confused about that’,” she said.
A NSW Electoral Commission spokesman said notice of election advertisements had been placed in press, radio and online.
“For postal and pre-polling, which we’re in now, there’s been online, social and radio advertising,” he said.
“That will be followed by reminder to vote ads in the final week in press, radio and online.”
Despite the upheaval of recent months, with forced mergers and legal challenges, elections of 81 councils will go ahead, including Blacktown and Penrith.
Badgerys Creek airport curfews, the proposed incinerator at Eastern Creek, general overdevelopment and preserving recreational areas are some of the key topics the community has highlighted as it decides on whom to give its vote.
Across NSW, voters will be forced to sift through 1600 independent candidates.
The Liberals have endorsed 107 candidates, ALP 92, and 67 are standing for Country Labor.
Blacktown Mayor Stephen Bali gets hands-on at the recent opening of Blacktown Tennis Centre. Picture: Jess Husband
Penrith’s Todd Carney.