By Sarah Buckler, Acting CEO
Nominations have closed and the candidate lists are in with more than 1570 Queenslanders putting their hand up for this month’s local government elections.
LG Sherlock, our data analytics team, has been crunching the numbers since receiving the final raw data from the Electoral Commission of Queensland late on Thursday night.
The ECQ data has shown a significant drop in the number of nominations this year compared to 2016 with about 200 fewer candidates putting up their hand.
We have also seen more of our existing elected members choose not to stand this time compared to our historical averages.
While disappointing, this drop is not surprising given what we have been hearing directly from elected members in recent months and the data from the Colmar Brunton survey which saw significantly higher numbers unwilling or undecided as to whether they would stand when compared to previous elections.
Many citing that while agreeing with the need to meet community expectations of transparency and accountability, the pendulum has swung too far and that the new laws had made things onerous and unproductive.
Local government is at its best when good people are encouraged to participate, and we have the broadest representation of the community.
On a positive note, the data has revealed some heartening news as we celebrate International Women’s Day this Sunday on 8 May 2020.
Around 37 percent of candidates nominating this year are women, representing a consistent and steady increase from previous terms.
It is great to see so many women wanting to represent their communities, no doubt inspired by those that have gone before them and the heightened understanding of the value of reflecting the diversity of our communities in the voices that represent them.
We would expect that we will see these numbers continue to climb in elections to come and be more representative in the results on polling day as history would seem to suggest there is a historically higher rate of success for female candidates who choose to stand.
The number of candidates elected unopposed was also significantly higher based on our early analysis with 15 mayors and 31 councillors identified across the 77 councils. Congratulations to each and every one of them.
A heartfelt thank you to those mayors and councillors who have decided not to contest this election. Thank you for your service to your communities and to this state, service which in some cases as spanned decades. The sector is stronger for your contribution.
Speaking of data crunching, our LG Sherlock team is celebrating today after a well-deserved win at the iTnews Benchmark awards.
The team won the award for local government project of the year for Energy Detective, a project that is helping the local government sector save hundreds of thousands of dollars on their energy bills.