Abb leads Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council vote count

Doug Phillips
Doug Phillips

Former Gundagai mayor Abb McAlister has his place on the first-ever Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council sewn up with 1183 first preference votes out of the 7220 counted as of Tuesday morning. 

Another former mayor, Doug Phillips of Cootamundra, also looks likely to have a seat at the table garnering 652 votes. 

Mr Phillips is confident he will be joined on council by Craig Stewart, who rain in Mr Phillips’ group of five candidates. 

He is hopeful preferences will fall in favour of another member of his candidates group, Stephen Doidge. 

On Tuesday, Mr Phillips said he was disappointed all five candidates did not get a start, however he was looking forward to working with those who were elected. 

“We need to let the water go from under the bridge; we all have something to work towards and we must work together,” Mr Phillips said. 

He confirmed he will put his hand up for both the mayor and deputy mayor position of the new council. 

A meeting is expected to be convened next week with all elected councillors voting on these top two positions. 

A legislation change means the mayor’s position will be held for two years, rather than the traditional 12 months. 

While the frontrunners are clear, the make-up of the remainder of council will come down to preferences with the NSW Electoral Commission advising a final result may not be available until this Saturday. 

After Mr McAlister and Mr Phillips, independent candidate Charlie Sheahan was polling well with 425 votes, followed by another independent candidate in Gil Kelly. 

Mr Kelly ran a dedicated campaign to get his name out to voters and was rewarded with 379 votes. 

Other contenders for council positions include David Graham of Gundagai (275 first preference votes), Leigh Bowden (273 votes), Penny Nicholson (263 votes) and Amy Turner (231 votes).