New mem­ber sets coun­cil ‘va­ca­tion’ date

Southern Riverina news - - NEWS -

Newly elected Mem­ber for Mur­ray Austin Evans has said he will va­cate his po­si­tion as a Mur­rumbidgee coun­cil­lor next month.

As part of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment leg­is­la­tion, Mr Evans can only hold his po­si­tion as both a lo­cal coun­cil­lor and state mem­ber for up to two years.

Mr Evans said all coun­cil­lors were com­fort­able with his de­par­ture date.

‘‘I talked to all the coun­cil­lors at the end of the re­cent meet­ing and put for­ward the sug­ges­tion that I re­sign straight af­ter the next coun­cil meet­ing in Novem­ber.

‘‘That trig­gers the three months the Elec­toral Com­mis­sion has to con­duct the by­elec­tion, and that should mean there will be a new coun­cil­lor elected by the Fe­bru­ary meet­ing.

‘‘I wanted to stand down as soon as pos­si­ble so the coun­cil can con­tinue with its busi­ness.

‘‘It will mean they are only one coun­cil­lor short for one meet­ing.’’

Mr Evans said the clash of his elec­tion of both Mur­rumbidgee Coun­cil and state par­lia­ment was sim­ply a case of ‘‘poor tim­ing’’.

The Na­tion­als can­di­date won last month’s by-elec­tion to re­place out­go­ing Na­tion­als’ mem­ber Adrian Pic­coli.

‘‘If it had hap­pened a month ear­lier, I wouldn’t have put my hand up for coun­cil, and if it had hap­pened a month later I prob­a­bly would have put my hand up for mayor of Mur­rumbidgee Coun­cil.

‘‘My pref­er­ence would have been to con­test the next state elec­tion in 2019.

‘‘It’s a rea­son­ably good out­come given the less than ideal tim­ing.’’

Although the seat of Mur­ray was of­fi­cially called two weeks ago, Mr Evans told the South­ern Rive­rina News he hasn’t been able to fully set­tle into his new role as yet.

‘‘You can’t re­ally do any­thing, such as con­trol­ling staff or op­er­at­ing the of­fice,’’ Mr Evans said on Thurs­day.

‘‘It’s only been a week, but I’m still car­ry­ing three phones, in­clud­ing one from the elec­tion.’’

Mr Evans said he would still live in Coleam­bally and that he was look­ing for­ward to work­ing with Mur­rumbidgee Coun­cil in his new role.

‘‘I’ll be a Mur­rumbidgee Coun­cil res­i­dent, so the de­ci­sions they make will af­fect my fam­ily and I.

‘‘I’ve worked closely with the coun­cil­lors as many of them were on the Lo­cal Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee (fol­low­ing the merger of Jer­ilderie and Mur­rumbidgee coun­cils in 2015).

‘‘(Mayor) Ruth McRae and I have al­ways worked to­gether; we have not al­ways agreed but have worked very cor­dially to­gether.’’

Mr Evans also said his elec­tion to par­lia­ment would help him fo­cus on the one role.

‘‘The last 16 months I’ve been do­ing my day job with Coleam­bally Ir­ri­ga­tion and do­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tor’s job with the new Mur­rumbidgee Coun­cil.

‘‘So it will be good to have just par­lia­men­tar­ian as my role, but I know it will be very busy.’’ ~ James Ben­nett

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