Arthur wins council seat

Arthur wins council seat

Local identity, Arthur Allen, has easily won a place on the new nine- member East Gippsland Shire Council after the Victorian Electoral Commission announced the successful candidates at its Bairnsdale office on Monday following the counting of votes.

However, long-term councilor, Dick Ellis, also of Lakes Entrance, has lost his seat in the new East Gippsland Shire council.

Mr Allen, whose run for council revolved around a ‘can do’ attitude was an early leader and consistently held the fourth position as votes were counted.

He managed to collect 2555 primary votes to secure him a seat in the council chamber.

Mr Allen said he was “relieved” the counting was over and looked forward to working with the new council team.

“It was an interesting experience,” he said of the process.

A family man, Mr Allen has been a small business operator and primary industry spokesman for more than 40 years.

He is also actively involved in the community through service clubs.

Two other Lakes Entrance candidates, Ray Barling and Luke Roberts, were unsuccessful in securing a seat.

Mr Roberts won 556 primary votes while 80-year-old Mr Barling collected 431.

Only two previous members of the 2016 elected council managed to hold onto their seats.

Most recent mayor, John White, of Lindenow, and Mark Reeves, of Marlo, also a former mayor, will return to the council chamber.

Mr Reeves, a long-time councillor, narrowly scraped back in taking the ninth spot on council.

The other six councillors who made the cut are Kirsten Van Diggele, Sonia Buckley, Mendy Urie, Trevor Stow, Jane Greacen and Tom Crook.

Ms Urie was a previous East Gippsland Shire councillor for two terms and mayor from 2006-2009.

Sonia Buckley is the daughter of veteran councillor and outgoing deputy mayor, Ben Buckley.

At 25 years of age, Ms Van Diggele is the youngest ever councillor to be elected to the East Gippsland Shire.

Polling the most primary votes of anyone, Ms Van Diggele was the first name out of the Victorian Electoral Commission’s computer on Monday afternoon taking 3337 primary votes in the count.

Once preferences were distributed, 42- year-old, Tom Crook, of Eagle Point, managed to claim the eighth spot.

Mr Crook, who fell just outside the margin on primary votes needed to secure a seat, was catapulted from 10th to eighth spot once preferences were allocated.

“I’m a bit surprised,” Mr Crook, a conservation land manager, told the Lakes Post when informed he’d secured a seat on the council.

Dr Jane Greacen, who is a familiar face to Lakes Entrance residents, through her work as a general practitioner, said she was “very excited” to be elected, even though it had been “a bit nerve wracking” as the votes were slowly tallied over a couple of weeks.

While she was in seventh position with a primary vote of 1579, once preferences were allocated, Dr Greacen took the sixth seat in the council chamber.

Three former councillors in the 2012- 2016 East Gippsland Shire Council - Jane Rowe, Peter Neal and Jeff McNeil - were unsuccessful in their attempts to regain a seat on council, although both Ms Rowe and Mr Neal each received well over a 1000 votes each.

In all 34,188 registered voters returned their ballot papers in the elections, with 3006 being declared informal. East Gippsland Shire chief executive officer, Anthony Basford, said he looked forward to working with the new council over the next four years. “We’ve doubled our female representation from two to four, so there’s a good gender mix and a great range of ages that reflect our community,” he said.

“Our team is very much looking forward to working with the new council who play a critical role in supporting our community.”

A statutory meeting of the council will take place next Tuesday, November 17 to elect the mayor.

Mr Basford said it was up to council to decide if they also wanted to elect a deputy mayor.

Image: The new East Gippsland Shire Council was announced on Monday. Pictured are three of the new councillors, Arthur Allen, of Lakes Entrance with Tom Crook and Dr Jane Greacen. K444-7953