Call for council competition
Advocates want more people to run for council positions in the Northern Territory.
An average of just two people nominated for each council position in the NT’s last local government elections in 2017.
The Local Government Association of the Northern Territory (LGANT) has called for more candidates ahead of the next election on August 28, with nominations closing on August 5.
“What makes a really good democracy is competition, and we'd like to see more people nominating for council from even more diverse backgrounds than we currently have,” LGANT chief executive Sean Holden said.
Out of 320 candidates at the 2017 elections, just 35 per cent were female and only 11 per cent were under the age of 35.
Despite voting being compulsory, only 57 per cent of eligible electors voted at the NT's last local government elections.
Mr Holden said one issue holding potential candidates back is that “people don't quite understand what councils do”.
“Councils do a lot more than roads, rates and rubbish … in the Northern Territory in some places it's providing Centrelink services, postal services, aged care, childcare, a lot more than people assume,” he said.
He also said many believe such a role is only suitable for the political class.
“There's really no qualification to be an elected member of council, and that's a good thing,” he said.
Candidates only need to be aged 18 or above, an Australian citizen, and live within the council area they run for.