New Sutherland Shire Council to meet

Labor newcomer: Ray Plibersek and sister Tanya, federal Deputy Opposition, at Oyster Bay Public School, where they were pupils. Picture: John Veage

Labor newcomer: Ray Plibersek and sister Tanya, federal Deputy Opposition, at Oyster Bay Public School, where they were pupils. Picture: John Veage

Six members, who have never served previously, will take their seats when the new Sutherland Shire Council meets for the first time on Monday.

Voting was completed late last week, confirming the Liberal and Labor parties will each have seven councillors, and independent Steve Simpson will round out the 15.

Council comeback: Liberal councillor Marie Simone, pictured during pre-polling, was an independent member from 2004 to 2008 and is one of two new Liberals.

Council comeback: Liberal councillor Marie Simone, pictured during pre-polling, was an independent member from 2004 to 2008 and is one of two new Liberals.

New members include Liberals Marie Simone, who was an independent councillor from 2004 to 2008, and Daniel Nicholls, who replaced former deputy mayor Hassan Awada.

Labor’s new blood includes former senator Michael Forshaw, former state MP Barry Collier, Jack Boyd, Ray Plibersek and Greg McLean.

The only casualty among members of the previous council who stood again was Liberal Tracy Cook in C Ward.

Cr Cook lost her position to Jack Boyd, 23, a student, who is in the final weeks of completing a law degree.

The council’s first task will be to elect a mayor, deputy mayor and committees.

Labor councillors met on the weekend to discuss this and other matters, and Peter Scaysbrook was chosen as the caucus chairman.

The Liberals are scheduled to choose their nominations next weekend.

The decision on the mayor and deputy mayor will largely be up to Cr Simpson, who holds the balance of power.

Cr Simpson said he had had some preliminary discussions, “but nothing specific”.

He said there had been no suggestion he should stand for mayor.

As for whom he would support, he said, “I would have to see what people are put up”.

Cr Simpson said his approach to council decisions would not change.

“I will continue to make decisions on merit and on the professional advice and recommendations of council staff,” he said.

Cr Simpson hinted he would support Labor’s policy of restoring the practice of councillors determining development applications.

“I think most councillors are looking at our past practices, what has been done over the last 12 months, and there has been discussion about what we need to revisit,” Cr Simpson said.

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