Labor candidates for this year’s local government elections have brushed off suggestions the party’s federal and state woes would have an impact on the poll come September.
Labor officially begun its local government campaign last week with three out of four council election candidates pre-selected unopposed.
Deputy Mayor Mark Greenhill, Springwood resident Mick Fell and Romola Hollywood from Wentworth Falls will contest the election in Wards 4, 3 and 2 respectively.
The contest was tighter in the Upper Mountains, where Don McGregor, Sarah Shrubb, Shirley Ross-Shuley, and Robin Sproule put their names forward for the three places on the Ward 1 ticket, to be decided on April 28.
But departing Ward 2 councillor and ALP NSW Upper House deputy leader Adam Searle said the party’s dismal performance at state elections and federal opinion polls would not affect its Blue Mountains City Council candidates.
“What’s obvious in Blue Mountains politics in particular is there has not been such a strong correlation between traditional party and local politics,” Clr Searle said.
“If you look at council elections as opposed to state and federal elections, people vote more far and wide because they are voting not for state or federal governments but local representatives dealing with very localised issues.
“This has historically been very dangerous for traditional party candidates — not long ago, having a major party label was almost a guarantee you would not get voted for in the Mountains.
“People really want to know who individuals are and what they have to offer, not only what party they are for.”
With around nine new councillors a possibility on the next council, Clr Searle said the 2012 vote would be crucial.
“At this election more than any other the community has to look beyond the brands and look at the individual commitment and what they can bring to the very difficult task of representing the community,” he said.
The sentiment was echoed by Clr Greenhill.
“Council is not state or federal parliament, it is not a place for political games,” he said. “It is a place for community activists to get things done for our Blue Mountains.”
It will be the fifth local government election Clr Greenhill has contested, the first of which was in 1995 and all of which have seen him pre-selected unopposed.
Clr Greenhill served three years as president of the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) and two years as Blue Mountains deputy mayor in his time on the council.
“I bring to the election a great deal of experience and a history of getting things done for my community,” he said.
Both Clr Greenhill and Clr Searle were pleased Ms Hollywood and Mr Fell will stand, the former saying she had lived in the Mountains for 25 years and was passionate about improving local services and environmental protection.
“I am particularly focused on expanding the services available for young families and older residents to suit changing population needs in our area,” she said.
Mr Fell is also well known and was pivotal in assisting with the installation of CCTV cameras in Springwood town centre.
Projects including the ongoing revamp of the town’s civic centre precinct were challenges he was looking forward to, he said.
“After a career involving more than 25 years working in local government and 13 years living in this area, I am looking forward to making a contribution through council,” Mr Fell said.