NSW Liberals and Nationals Wage War on Hunter Councils

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Shadow Minister for Local Government, Greg Warren and Shadow Minister for the Hunter, Clayton Barr have condemned the NSW Liberals and Nationals for bleeding the pockets of the Hunter community dry.

Documents obtained by NSW Labor under Freedom of Information laws show the cost to hold this September’s local government elections across the Hunter have increased significantly.

Cessnock City Council costs increasing by 45%, Upper Hunter Shire Council costs by 45%, Muswellbrook Shire Council costs by 44%, Port Stephens Council costs by 36%, Newcastle City Council costs by 33%, Singleton Council costs by 32% and Dungog Shire Council costs will almost double with a 90% increase to $111,876.

Mr Clayton Barr fears the increased costs would force our local Hunter Councils to cut funds intended for other important community projects like roads.

The documents obtained by NSW Labor also showed 9 out of the 10 most affected communities were located in rural or regional NSW, while the 10 councils with the lowest rises (in terms of percentage) were all metropolitan-based councils.


COUNCIL2016/17 COST ($)2020 COST ($)RISE (%)
Coolamon Shire9,00043,714386
Cobar Shire30,00066,841123
Narromine Shire38,00082,094116
Snowy Valleys75,000157,154110



COUNCIL2016/17 COST ($)2020 COST ($)RISE (%)
Campbelltown City605,000745,93723
City of Ryde449,000554,32423
Sutherland Shire984,0001,226,08325
Northern Beaches1,122,0001,404,48425

*2016/17 figures obtained via ipart.nsw.gov.au and 2020 costs obtained via GIPA*

“Local government elections are not profiteering exercises, they are solely designed to elect leaders to represent the community,” Mr Warren said.

“This rise in cost is a brazen and brash attack on every community throughout NSW.

“Every member of this Liberal-National Government who has allowed these costs blowouts to occur on their watch should hang their heads in shame – particularly those who hail from rural and regional NSW.”

Mr Barr added: “This unjust and enormous bill will wreak havoc in our communities.”

“It shows the Liberals and Nationals are clearly out of touch with not only our Hunter regional communities but with every community throughout NSW.

“I hold genuine fears that our local Councils will be forced to slash services or raise rates to pay for the NSWEC’s services in September.”