Steve Simpson to leave Sutherland Shire Council at September election after 27 years' service

Steve and Rhonda Simpson at their Alfords Point home. Picture: Chris Lane
Steve and Rhonda Simpson at their Alfords Point home. Picture: Chris Lane

Mayor Steve Simpson is calling time after 27 years on Sutherland Shire Council.

"I've ordered a caravan and Rhonda and I will do some travelling and enjoy more time with our four grandchildren," he said when confirming he would not stand again in E Ward, which covers the Menai area and Woronora, at the September 4 election.

"The time is right and I think other people need to be given a go.

"The next generation will have new ideas."

Cr Simpson, who lives at Alfords Point and has been mayor on two occasions, said he had had "the best time" as a councillor and was proud to have played a role in the development of facilities in the Menai area, including The Ridge and indoor sports centre.

"One of the first things I asked for was a skate park," he said.

Cr Steve Simpson with Nippers promoting surf safety when he was mayor in 2013. Picture:

Cr Steve Simpson with Nippers promoting surf safety when he was mayor in 2013. Picture:

"A lot of people said it would just attract hoodlums, but it turned out be a really good thing for the young people."

Cr Simpson represented the Liberal Party for most of his time on council and twice unsuccessfully contested preselection for the state seat of Menai.

After being dumped from the Liberal team for the last election, he ran as an independent and romped home.

Cr Simpson said he would "not be anointing" any candidate, but offered a word of advice.

"One thing I have learnt about being an independent is you cannot be aligned with any specific organisation," he said.

There are already two independents in the field for E Ward, including Shire Sports candidate Laura Cowell, who is vice president of the Sutherland Shire Football Association.

Cr Simpson held the balance of power in the present council, where Labor and Liberals each had seven councillors until Cr Ray Plibersek's early departure to take a state government appointment.

In 2018, Cr Simpson supported Liberal Carmelo Pesce to be re-elected mayor in return for the deputy mayor's position.

Two years later, Cr Simpson sided with Labor, who agreed to make him mayor, with Michael Forshaw becoming deputy mayor.

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