Mayor backs council-run elections
BUNDABERG Mayor Mal Forman has backed a plan to return control of local government elections to the councils.
He was reacting to the results of a survey that criticised the Electoral Commission of Queensland's handling of the 2012 elections.
The survey, commissioned by the Local Government Association of Queensland, found the commission failed to perform adequately in key aspects of the region.
The survey of both councils and Queensland voters found the commission put in a poor effort in promoting the elections, supplying information to candidates and instructing voters on how to lodge postal votes.
The results confirmed the 2012 council elections were marred by voter confusion and poor communication.
Cr Forman said he thought he would support the return of control of the elections to councils was "a good possibility".
"It's something I think I would support," he said.
"The councils used to do it, and I think it would save the councils money."
Bundaberg Regional Council paid the commission $500,316 to run the 2012 election.
Cr Forman said that figure was a "quite astounding" amount of money to run an election.
He said he felt the councils would have the ability to make the elections run more smoothly.
"I think the move would be welcomed by most councils," Cr Forman said.
But he refused to make any direct criticism of the commission's handling of the elections.
"I think they tried their best," he said.
The survey results form part of a detailed submission delivered to the State Government on the poll.
LGAQ President Paul Bell said the submission called on local government minister David Crisafulli to give councils the power to conduct their elections themselves or appoint outside contractors to provide election services.
"We said immediately after the poll that the ECQ had not risen adequately to the task of conducting the elections and this survey roundly endorses that view,'' Cr Bell said.
"Resourcing was poor, voter education at the local level failed to cut through and there was a lack of properly skilled returning officers on the ground.
"All of this shows that taking local circumstances into account when conducting local elections is all important, and that is why councils are best placed to decide how their elections should be run.''