Why you should care about the council election

A former Latrobe City councillor is urging Latrobe Valley residents to take note of the upcoming local government elections.

Susan Lloyd hopes a diverse range of people will put their hand up as council candidates and for the broader community to make a well-informed vote.

“I know with our Australian federal government elections that we’ve had and with the recent census, people are really disenchanted with politics,” Ms Lloyd said.

“They’re not interested and so they don’t care.

“Why they should care is the decisions our local government councillors make impact us directly… (they affect) your rates, your kindergarten, your rubbish bins, your roads.”

Ms Lloyd served as a Latrobe City councillor from 2005 until 2008, representing Toongabbie, Glengarry and parts of Traralgon.

She said an international fellowship with Municipal Association of Victoria, which led her to research and study in the United Kingdom, Africa and New Zealand, made her realise why plenty of good quality council candidates were essential.

“We need to get good quality candidates who understand more than one issue,” Ms Lloyd said.

“They need to understand what their responsibilities are.

“They need to understand how to work together as a council to represent the community as a whole, rather than just one town versus another.”

Ahead of this year’s general election, scheduled for October, she encouraged the community to choose candidates with a balanced approach and the skills and capabilities “beyond just a popular vote”.

Ms Lloyd compared the role of a local government councillor with a company director.

Both manage a significant budget, with council’s made up of millions of dollars that are community funds.

She reminded those thinking of standing to broadly research what it meant to be a councillor and the relevant responsibilities.

This election she is hoping there are more candidates in each ward than there are seats and is urging those voting to carefully consider each person standing.

“They (councillors) have to demonstrate a strong leadership focus and have their eyes firmly fixed on the future,” Ms Lloyd said.

“I think more needs to be done on our future focus; it’s a major challenging time for us as a community.

“As a community we can’t always be looking to government to solve our issues, as a community we have to look to what our future is and decide what we want as our future.

“And then (we can) drive the government agenda to push for support financially.”

The next Latrobe City Council election will be held in October and will be held via postal voting.

The Victorian Electoral Commission will conduct the election on behalf of council.

For more information, visit www.vec.vic.gov.au/LatrobeElection