By Shelby Brooks
The Westernport Ward of Cardinia Shire will go to a by-election on Saturday 24 July following Councillor Ray Brown’s passing last week.
The Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) confirmed they had received the official notification from the Cardinia Shire CEO Carol Jeffs of Cr Brown’s death.
“As Westernport Ward is a single-councillor ward, a by-election for the ward is required (as per section 260 of the Local Government Act 2020) to fill the extraordinary vacancy on Cardinia Shire Council,” a spokesperson for the VEC said.
“The Electoral Commissioner has set the by-election date for Saturday 24 July 2021, with voting closing at 6pm on Friday 23 July 2021.”
Cardinia Shire changed to single-councillor wards in October 2020.
Prior to that, as multi-member wards, in the case of an extraordinary vacancy the councillor position was decided through a countback from the previous election.
Only two people ran alongside Cr Brown in last November’s election, with Kaye Cameron losing by 393 votes in the first preference count.
She said she was “disappointed” to have to go through the campaign process again so soon.
“Had the legislation not changed last year it would have gone back to me on a countdown,” Ms Cameron said.
“I will have to outlay more money and my workload has increased, making campaigning more difficult.”
She was also concerned people who previously stood for other wards and lost would run in the Westernport Ward by-election.
“I do think it’s a little unfair that someone else can step up and take the opportunity and the councillor spot if their campaign is more successful than mine,” Ms Cameron said.
“It’s going to be burdensome to have to campaign again when Mr Brown was not even in the position for four months.
“It also leaves the ward without a councillor for a few months.”