By Liz Rene
NEWCASTLE The NSW local government elections on September 9 registered a change in voting patterns that elected Green councillors across the state. The most resounding success was in Newcastle, where Greens now hold a quarter of the seats on the city council and Green preferences ensured the progressive left ALP candidate gained the lord mayoralty.
Newcastle's Green representatives, John Sutton, Margaret Henry and Liz Rene, were elected on a vote of almost 19% citywide. Issues such as the French nuclear testing, recycling and community participation have loomed large in the electorate's consciousness.
The number of women on council has increased from one to four. No party holds outright power, which augurs well for the future decision-making of the new councillors.
Across the state, a total of 16 Green councillors hold seats on new councils, and an increased vote for progressive independents and environmental independents has given local government a different and more positive face.