Labor candidate is well ahead in by-election
LABOR candidate Kevin Gillies is set to win the Ward 2 by-election by a large margin, sitting well ahead with more than 50 per cent of the vote.
The Quakers Hill resident is at 50.95 per cent and well ahead of his opponents.
A win by Mr Gillies will see Labor retain 10 councillors, with five Liberals, on Blacktown Council.
Greens hopeful Chris Winslow is coming in second with 15.88 per cent. Australia First Party candidate Cassie Orrock has 14.96 per cent, while independent Kittu Randhawa received only 12.7 per cent of votes on Saturday.
Most of the votes for Mr Gillies – 1511 in total – came from the Glenwood polling station at Caddies Creek Public School, followed by the Jim Southee Community Centre in Kings Langley with 1099 votes.
“I think the result really does reflect the community view and the stability that is happening under the current council by Labor councillors,” Mr Gillies said.
Mr Gillies, 66, said he was surprised by the “rousing reception” given to him by residents, treating him as a councillor when he attended community events.
“I was getting the feeling that even those that were previously Liberal voters were looking to support me and I have no doubt that it was because of stability rather than chaos (within the council),” he said.
Mr Winslow said he was delighted by the result that showed the number of votes for the Greens had increased since the election in September last year and al- most doubled in some areas.
“This helps to establish the Greens as part of the political landscape in Blacktown,” he said. “Our objective was to extend the reach and frequency of our messages and we managed to reach people that we haven’t been able to reach so far.
“I think there were a lot of people that would have voted Green for the very first time.”
Mr Gillies is preparing to address the concerns he heard from the community while campaigning.
“The first thing I want to do is budget estimates,” he said. “I have to look at where the allocations are and this is the prime time to have a look at those issues.” The winner will be officially declared on Thursday.
Greens candidate Chris Winslow hands Maria Filpi a how-to-vote card at Glenwood on Saturday and (below) Labor’s Kevin Gillies.