Editorial: Intense competition for seat on Federation Council

A mammoth 42-candidate field will contest the Federation Council election in an historic moment for the newly-formed shire.

With just nine spots up for grabs, competition for a seat on the council will be intense ahead of the September 9 election.

A host of former Corowa Shire mayors and councillors have put their hand up to be elected with Gary Poidevin, Paul Miegel, Fred Longmire, Gail Law, Joan Palmer, Daryl Davey and Francesco Bruinsma some of the experienced names to throw their hat into the ring.

Also among those lining up to contest the election is a first-time candidate in Howlong teenager Maisie Donlen.

The 19-year-old is part of a ticket headed by former Urana Shire mayor Pat Bourke and including ex-councillors John Doyle and Ian Kreutzberger. Mr Bourke, Mr Doyle and Mr Kreutzberger hail from Urana, Oaklands and Rand respectively and will be desperate to ensure the new council isn’t dominated by larger Murray River centres Howlong, Corowa and Mulwala.

Howlong has been at the centre of a “stink”, with opposition to a proposed compost facility looming as a key part of Mark Shields and David Longley’s election hopes.

In Corowa, debate has raged over whether a 50-metre outdoor swimming pool or a 25-metre indoor facility is the best option for the town with former golf club president Graham Withers recently throwing his support behind the longer option.

At the western end of the shire, Andrew Kennedy and his brother Chris, the Yarrawonga premiership coach, believe more can be done to promote Lake Mulwala.

Corowa and Urana shires merged as part of the NSW government’s controversial forced amalgamations last year and the nine members who are voted onto council will have an important job in ensuring those who live at Morundah feel just as important as those in Mulwala.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian recently abandoned forced metropolitan council amalgamations in Sydney and anti-merger campaigners in Tumbarumba are fighting for their independence, rather than be absorbed by Tumut.

There have been no such protests in the formation of Federation Council after an initial fight to scrap a proposed three-way merger with Lockhart, though it hasn’t all been smooth sailing under the guidance of administrator Mike Eden.

Now, it’s over to you, voters.