Once known as a Northern Rivers’ retirement haven, Ballina’s lack of a hurry when it comes to September’s council elections is to the Byron Shire as fishing to Instagram.
While more than twenty Byron Shire residents have announced their candidature for council elections in September and started jostling for media attention, campaigns have started in both the Tweed and Lismore local government areas.
But the lead-up in Ballina has been distinctly quieter.
So far, The Greens are the only ones to have announced their interest in the Ballina Shire Council election.
The Greens announce council candidates across the Northern Rivers
Kiri Dicker of Lennox Head ran as an independent in 2015 but says her political values have become clearer since then and are in line with those shared by The Greens.
Ms Dicker is running for the B Ward, which includes Lennox Head and Newrybar, and is joined by Jason Shrieves and Simon Chate in the A and C wards respectively on behalf of The Greens.
She said climate action and phasing out 4WD tourism on Seven Mile Beach were her top priorities for the Ballina Shire, along with doing whatever the council could do to help address the region’s housing crisis sustainably.
Ms Dicker is joined in her position as a Northern Rivers’ Greens’ local government candidate by several women across the region including Dr Nola Firth, Sarah Ndiaye and Vanessa Ekins in the Tweed, Byron and Lismore LGAs respectively.
But Ms Dicker says the party decided against campaigning for the position of Ballina Shire mayor, mostly due to the lack of council experience within the Ballina team.
Ballina mayor more focused on ‘movie industry’ than elections
Meanwhile, despite having served 34 years on the Ballina Shire Council, Mayor David Wright declined to disclose whether or not he’ll run again this year when asked last week.
Cr Wright has served the past eleven years as mayor but said official deadlines for announcing candidature in September’s elections hadn’t yet passed and he was focused on Ballina’s ‘movie industry’.
The Ballina Shire Council recently approved leasing an old quarry site to Byron Studios and Cr Wright said he was busy doing all he could to fast-track the process so film production could continue.
‘Very few, only about five,’ Cr Wright said when asked if he knew of anyone running for the council this year.
Next door in the Byron Shire, four men have so far declared they want to be mayor, with six different political teams announced for local government elections in September.
Both The Greens and Labor have announced campaigns in the Tweed and Lismore local government electorates, either publicly or via the electoral commission’s register, with nominations due to close on 4 August.