New date for council election if it’s delayed by virus

THE state's councils have thrown their support behind plans to go ahead with the March 28 local government elections.

But Local Government Association of Queensland president Mark Jamieson says if a worst-case scenario forces the State Government to delay the election, then councils believe the date should be pushed back to March 27, next year.

The Sunshine Coast mayor said the elections must continue, pointing to the significant number of postal vote applications and pre-poll votes.

"I'm very confident, notwithstanding any other major shocks from COVID-19, (we will) see the local government elections finalised as planned," he said.

"We have faith in the good sense of the 3.2 million Queensland voters to continue to vote early and to stagger attendances on the actual polling day on March 28."

He said if the State Government delayed the vote, March 27, 2021 would be the best date to ensure community certainty.

"This would allow full postal by-elections to be held to replace those mayors and councillors who have already announced their retirement and who decide they do not wish to remain in the office for the additional year," he said.

"We have had constructive discussions with the Minister who understands the need for councils to continue to function properly when their communities will need them the most."

Cr Jamieson said he did not see any sense in putting a stop to the pre-polling that was already underway.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said the election needed to be resolved on March 28 so councils could support their communities during the crisis.

"We have a situation where all 77 councils are in care taker period," he said.

"So new packages or new support initiatives can't be implemented unless council meets to approve them. That can't happen in the current election environment."

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said all candidates in her community had committed to removing volunteers from pre-polling booths to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

"And we are considering a similar agreement for election day to reduce the number of people at polling locations," she said.

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