Bathurst Council to use the services of the NSW Electoral Commission for the 2024 elections | western avocado

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DESPITE councilors’ concerns, Bathurst Regional Council will again use the services of the NSW Electoral Commission (NSWEC) in the next local government election in 2024. After the last election in late 2021, long-serving councilors Ian North and Warren Aubin urged the council to investigate other parties that might run in the next election. They were concerned about the quality of services provided in 2021 and the increased costs the council has borne by NSWEC with each election. READ MORE: Bathurst council could pass on Election Commission services in 2024 In the past decade alone, the cost of holding an election has risen from $216,353 to $316,119, excluding GST. The cost of the 2021 election was approximately $75,000 more than the previous election in 2017, with the council having to pay for two pre-vote locations and an office for the returning officer due to COVID-19 . Typically, there would be only one pre-voting location from which the returning officer would work for the entire election period. Already, the council expects to shell out $323,000 for the 2024 election, but the eventual bill could be higher. Despite calls to find another election service provider, the council last week decided to use the NSWEC again in 2024. The council must resolve to reach an agreement with the NSWEC at least 18 months before the election. Cr North told the Western Advocate there was no better option available to the council at the moment, forcing it somewhat to re-engage the Electoral Commission. “We had a working group a few weeks ago to talk about it. There aren’t a lot of alternatives that we can use,” he said. “I had David [Sherley, council’s general manager] to explain to new advisors how the cost just increased dramatically. It’s just ridiculous how much it’s increased. “…Until there is another option, there is not much we can do.” At last week’s council meeting, Cr North again highlighted the issues he and other candidates have faced in the 2021 election, including the rules around non-enforcement of signage and the impossibility to get answers from the NSWEC hotline staff. Cr Aubin seconded his comments, both calling for services to be improved in the next election. “When you spend decent money on a service, you should get that decent service and unfortunately it was surprisingly lacking,” Cr Aubin said. “Hopefully next time we’ll get our money’s worth and bang for our buck, so to speak, and answer any questions we ask immediately.” Our reporters work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can access our trusted content:

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