Interested in becoming a Councillor?
Wagga Wagga City Council's next election is to be confirmed following the Minister for Local Government's announcement that the September 2020 local government elections will be postponed to address the risks posed by the COVID-19 virus. The election has been postponed for 12 months with a possible further extension to 31 December 2021 should the need arise. Although the time-frame has been extended, it's time to consider contributing to our local community and becoming a Councillor.
If you are passionate about your local community then you have what it takes to become a Councillor. There are no special qualifications to become a Councillor, other than a desire to serve your community.
Local communities are made up of a mix of people with different needs and interests from a diverse range of backgrounds that live and work within the local government area. This includes people from groups who may not usually have a say in council decisions.
There is currently an under representation of diverse groups of people among elected representatives particularly women, therefore an opportunity is available to anyone who would like to experience making a difference within the community.
Elected council representatives represent their community, therefore if a community is diverse then the Councillors should be too. Diverse representation leads to better leadership and decision making to create stronger councils and better outcomes for local communities. It also helps to ensure the needs of different groups in the local community are taken into account when council makes decisions.
Being a Councillor is a rewarding opportunity to:
- Make decisions that help people in your local community
- Influence the long term vision and direction for your community
- Learn new skills such as leadership, public speaking and advocacy
- Work with diverse and passionate people on a range of issues
- Balance the needs and priorities of your community
- Show leadership and make the best decisions for your community.
Being a Councillor involves a commitment of your time. Many Councillors report that they spend 10-15 hours each week on council activities, depending on the size of the council and the issues that arise.
Councillors are expected to attend all council and some committee meetings and a range of workshops and community engagement initiatives.
Councillors work together to make decisions about what the council will do to meet community needs and how money should be spent in the best interests of the community as a whole. Councillors do not get involved in the day-to-day running of the council, this is the role of the General Manager.
If you are interested in becoming a Councillor and would like to bring your skills, influence, knowledge and experience and participate in policy decisions on behalf of your local government area, it is recommend that you take the time to talk to a local Councillor, past or present, to discuss this opportunity.
Standing for council is a personal choice only you can make in considering and understanding your own circumstances and what the time commitment means for you.
Information and Resources
A person is eligible to contest the Wagga Wagga local government election if:
- the person is entitled to be enrolled as an elector, and
- the person is not disqualified from being a Councillor by the Local Government Act, and
- the person is not prevented from being elected under Section 276 (2) of the Local Government Act.
Roles and Responsibilities
Council - Elected body
Currently the council is an elected body of nine members who are elected for a four year term to carry out duties under the provisions of the Local Government Act and Regulations.
The Mayor and Deputy Mayor are elected by the elected members of the council for a two year term. The Mayor, as well as being Chairman of council meetings, represents council when it is not in session.
For further information please view Sections 266 - 273 of the Local Government Act 1993.
The Mayor's Role
The Mayor's responsibilities vary widely, but all are intended to ensure the well-being of the city and its people.
The Mayor's role is essentially the same as that of other Councillors. However, in addition, under the Local Government Act, the role of the Mayor is to:
- where necessary, exercise urgent policy-making functions of the governing body of the council between meetings of the council
- exercise such other functions of the council as the council determines
- to preside at meetings of the council
- carry out the civic and ceremonial functions of the mayoral office
The Councillor's Role
Councillors are elected members of the council. Their jobs cover many areas, each aimed at satisfying expectations of the local community. A Councillor is expected to be many things, including:
- representative of the people
- planner and goal setter
- decision maker
- civic leader
- member of a board of directors
The Councillors are the "Board of Directors" for the Local Government organisation. They approve council expenditure; set goals, strategies and policies; co-operate with appointed managers and decide issues submitted to the council.
Councillors also allocate resources for various Local Government functions, and watch over the efficiency, cost and effectiveness of council's organisation. They help set priorities for council both in planning and in execution of its works programmes.
They must be advocates for the Local Government Area and promote it, and can be called upon to represent council in inter-government matters. Councillors, like the Mayor, undertake civic duties such as receiving dignitaries and attending civic functions.
Being elected representatives, Councillors are delegates and trustees not only for the people who voted for them, but also for those who did not. They pass on information about council activities to various sectors of the community and provide input of community attitudes to council. They often receive petitions from voters, and so Councillors have to make sure they are familiar with the issues involved.
Councillors are expected to show leadership in the community, in the council, and as private citizens. They must at all times act reasonably, with equity and justice, and must submerge any self interest. They are expected to be active and look to the future. To do all this, Councillors need to keep themselves informed of a wide range of matters, about government, administration, finance, economics and society.
If you are passionate about what happens in your local community and would like further information about becoming a Councillor, you may wish to talk to an existing Councillor in your local area or contact the Office of Local Government - email@example.com- or phone 02 4428 4100.
The Nomination Process
The NSW Electoral Commission (NSWEC) provides an outline on the nomination process for Local Government elections as well as the necessary forms and fact sheets.
Candidates and groups are required to register for the election with the NSWEC and appoint a person as their official agent before accepting political donations or incurring electoral expenditure. Registration and agent appointment forms are available on the NSW Electoral Commission website.
The NSWEC is responsible for regulating the political donations and election campaign expenditure of parties, groups, candidates and others. There are strict legal requirements that all parties, groups and candidates must follow when dealing with their election campaign finances. Parties, groups and candidates wishing to seek further information about candidate and group registration, appointment of an official agent or election campaign finances are advised to contact the NSWEC Candidate Helpdesk on 1300 088 942
Resources for potential candidates
Watch the video below to gain some insights on becoming a Councillor from former Deputy Mayor Kay Hull.
Download the "Stand for your community. Be a Councillor" brochure in a different language: