No change to mayors as Rockingham and Kwinana electors have say on new councils

Stuart Horton and Chloe FraserSound Telegraph

Barry Sammels’ reign as Rockingham mayor will extend into an 18th year after the new council put their faith in him to continue leading the City at a special council meeting on Monday night.

Sitting to swear in new members and elect a mayor and deputy, the new-look council’s first job was to partake in a secret ballot that saw Cr Sammels re-elected mayor over Cr Mark Jones 6-5.

Deb Hamblin retained her position as deputy mayor, securing four votes over Cr Jones (3 votes), Cr Rae Cottam (1 vote) and Cr Matthew Whitfield (3 votes).

Cr Sammels, already the longest-serving mayor in the Perth metropolitan region, has served as a City of Rockingham councillor since 1997 and has been mayor since 2003.

Carol Adams’ term as Kwinana mayor will extend into a 15th year after she was re-elected unopposed at Kwinana’s special meeting on Monday night.

Peter Feasey also retained his position as deputy mayor after seeing off a challenge from Cr Dennis Wood.

Official Shelford Launch at 131 Dixon Rd, East Rockingham on Friday September 14th, 2018. Carol Adams
Camera IconOfficial Shelford Launch at 131 Dixon Rd, East Rockingham on Friday September 14th, 2018. Carol Adams Credit: The West Australian, John Koh.

The Rockingham and Kwinana electorates chose for their councils to go in opposite directions following counting of votes from last Saturday’s local government elections, with Rockingham electors giving the nod to first-time councillors to fill five of the six vacancies.

Only popular councillor Joy Stewart was returned from the incumbent Rockingham candidates, while Kwinana electors decided for more of the same, returning four current or former councillors to their positions.

Residents in Rockingham also put their trust in women, with seven of the 11-member council positions filled by females. Joining Cr Stewart (3451 votes) in the Rockingham/Safety Bay ward is Cr Cottam (3215) and one-time Brand Liberal Party candidate Craig Buchanan (4375).

Hayley Edwards (1487) and Sally Davies (1104) were elected by the Baldivis community, while Lorna Buchan (1557) secured Comet Bay ward.

Cr Sammels thanked the new council for their support and said the future was bright for the City.

“On behalf of the City I would like to warmly welcome our five newly elected councillors and also Cr Joy Stewart, who was successful in her bid to be re-elected for another term,” he said.

“Rockingham is the place where the coast comes to life and with such a variety of new and diverse faces on council the future of our City promises to be an exciting one.

“Each councillor brings with them a range of experiences and expertise and I look forward to working closely with them over the next two years as the City continues to grow.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge former councillors Andy Burns, Lee Downham, Katherine Summers and Chris Elliott for their contribution over the past few years.”

In Kwinana, incumbent councillors Dennis Wood (2557), Peter Feasey (2515) and Wendy Cooper (2230) were returned, while Sheri Wood (2122), who was ousted from council at the 2015 election, was returned by the skin of her teeth.

A recount was required after she finished one vote ahead of 18-year-old candidate Brayden Kelly; the recount confirmed Wood’s single-vote margin.

Cr Adams congratulated the four successful councillors and also acknowledged all the candidates for their fair and professionally-run election campaigns.

“Congratulations to all candidates involved in this year’s City of Kwinana local government election. I’m looking forward to working with the new council in our endeavour to continue to make the City of Kwinana the great place it is today.

“I would like to take this opportunity to say farewell to outgoing councillor Sheila Mills and acknowledge her service to the Kwinana community.

“Also thanks to those community members who took the time to vote and have a say in this election, which resulted in an extremely close result with one vote being the difference between fourth and fifth position.”

Voter turnout in each local government area was down on 2017 numbers, with 24.09 per cent of eligible electors in Rockingham returning their ballots compared to 29.39 in 2017, while Kwinana turnout dropped from 30.28 per cent in 2017 to 23.48 per cent at the weekend.

New councillors convene again tonight in Kwinana and next Tuesday in Rockingham.

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