Council amalgamation plebiscite hits roadblock

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A Randwick Council plan to hold a public plebiscite on the issue of council amalgamations has hit a roadblock with the NSW Electoral Commission refusing to release the electoral roll.

Randwick City Council was planning to hold the plebiscite or 'poll' this month as part of its community consultation program in response to the State Government's Fit for the Future amalgamation plan.

Randwick Mayor Ted Seng said that without an electoral roll, Council would not be able to conduct a poll of enrolled voters.

"Council has resolved on a number of occasions since December 2012 to undertake a plebiscite of voters on the important issue of Council mergers.

"Council staff have been investigating the running of a plebiscite since late 2014 and were told by the Electoral Commission recently that Council's planned poll doesn't meet the purposes under which the Commission can release the roll of voters."

Council plebiscites or polls are non-binding and non-compulsory but provide an opportunity for interested voters to express their view.

"While I'm disappointed that we're now unlikely to be able to run a plebiscite, I'm confident that our community has had the opportunity to provide feedback on Council amalgamations through our extensive community engagement program. More than 8,000 residents and ratepayers have so far taken part through a reply-paid survey, online survey, telephone surveys, focus groups and pop-up information stalls at local parks, beaches and shopping centres," Mayor Seng said.

Randwick Councillors will reconsider the issue of holding a plebiscite on Council mergers at a Council Meeting on 26 May 2015.

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