Byron Shire Vies for Title of Australia's Greenest Council

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Residents of Byron Shire have elected their highest number of Greens councillors yet, putting the council in the running for the title of Australia’s greenest.

All of the four candidates on the Greens ticket in the Byron Shire local government elections have secured a position on council, including the returning mayor Simon Richardson.

“It’s arguable that if we had another member on our ticket he or she would have got in as well,” Councillor Richardson said.

“I think it was beyond our wildest dreams as we were hoping just to hold onto our vote because the progressive tickets last time were less in number and didn’t include the ALP.

“The fact we had more progressive tickets, and the ALP involved, and our vote went up so significantly was unexpected but incredibly humbling and gratifying.”

However, the Greens were not quite ready to claim the Byron Shire Council as Australia’s “greenest of all” with several capital city councils electing four Greens representatives in previous years.

In New South Wales the former Leichhardt and Marrickville councils had four Greens councillors each, but both local government areas were amalgamated into the Inner West Council in May.

Elections for newly amalgamated councils will be held in 2017.

Strong Performance State-Wide

Greens MP and Local Government spokesman David Shoebridge said the Byron Shire was the strongest performer in a string of strong wins for his party across New South Wales.

“Around the country Byron Shire really does stand out, we’ve had a very long history of more than 20 years of having Greens councillors in Byron Shire,” Mr Shoebridge said.

“As the local community has got to see the quality of Greens representatives they keep electing them, and as this election shows they keep electing more of them.

“We’re particularly proud of our results in Byron.”

Mr Shoebridge said the Greens had increased their councillors from two to three in Kiama, and looked on-track to see three councillors in Shoalhaven, and first-time councillors in Albury, Campbelltown, Clarence Valley, Glen Innes, Goulburn, and Kyogle.

Most ‘progressive’ council

Councillor Richardson said the new Byron Shire Council might also be able to claim the title of Australia’s most progressive.

At the time of publishing, at least seven of the nine incoming Byron Shire councillors were from so-called progressive tickets.

“In Byron’s history it’s the most progressive and most overwhelming vote; we’ve got about an 80 per cent clear progressive vote, arguably more,” Councillor Richardson said.

“In New South Wales it’s probably the most progressive and nationally it’s in the top couple of the most progressive.”

The only confirmed conservative councillor for the Byron Shire is National Party member Alan Hunter.

“I’ve got reservations about being on my own in there with a voice in the wilderness,” he said.

“But I think only a fool wouldn’t take the message away from this election to say that the community has spoken.

“I’d like to sit and talk to the other councillors to see where my role might be as this lone voice.”

Source: ABC News

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