Updated | Libs and independents ahead in vote counting in Sutherland Shire Council election


The Liberal Party appears on track to win control of Sutherland Shire Council, but may need the support of an independent.

Vote counting in Saturday's election indicates the Liberals could win seven or eight of the 15 spots, while up to three independents could be elected.

Laura Cowell, leader of Shire Sports Independents, seems assured of victory in E Ward, while Leanne Farmer in A Ward and Pam Brown in B Ward are also well placed.

Labor appears to have lost votes to independent candidates and the group's leader Michael Forshaw (A Ward) is in danger of losing his position.

Pre-poll and i-Vote vote counting will take place on Monday. The i-Vote system crashed on Saturday.

The informal vote across all wards was very high.

Liberals leader Carmelo Pesce attributed this to the absence of how-to-vote cards, which left many voters confused.

Cr Pesce said, based on the early vote count, the Liberals were "tracking very well".

Projections based on Saturday night's counting:

A Ward: The Liberals led by Carol Provan are likely to win two positions, with independent Leanne Farmer favoured to take the third spot ahead of Labor's Michael Forshaw. Last term, there were two Liberal and one Labor councillors.

B Ward: Louise Sullivan (Liberal) and Jack Boyd (Labor) will win, and the third spot could go to Liberal Kent Johns or independent Pam Brown. Labor held two of the three spots in the last term, but the retirement of Barry Collier has cost them.

C Ward: The Liberal team led by former deputy mayor Hassan Awada is favoured to win two positions, with Labor's Jen Armstrong taking the third spot.

D Ward: The status quo is likely to be preserved with Labor's Diedree Steinwall and Greg McLean, and Liberal team leader Carmelo Pesce being re-elected.

E Ward: New Liberal candidate Stephen Nikolovski will take one position, with Peter Scaysbrook (Labor) and Shire Sports Laura Cowell (Shire Sports Independents) expected to take the other spots. This will be the same political makeup as last term when Steve Simpson was the independent.


Residents turned out today to elect a new council for Sutherland Shire and the Leader will provide updates as votes are counted tonight.

With the opportunity for everyone to vote early to lessen the COVID risk, there were reports of polling booths being busy, but without the long queues that have often been seen in the past.

This is the first council election in five years, with two previous postponements due to the pandemic.

There has also been a shorter campaign period for the same reason.

Sam and Rachel Buchanan, of Caringbah South, were still undecided about whom they would vote for when they arrived at Burraneer Bay Public School with their children Harper, 6 and Henry, 3.

"We will have to make up our minds as we walk in," Mr Buchanan said with a laugh.

Three councillors will be elected for each of the shire's five wards.