On the way to the ballot box

WITH just over a week to go before the local government elections, I wonder if I've been hiding under a rock.

Where are the candidates trawling the markets, banging on doors and kissing babies in order to try and win our votes?

It seems to be an unusually subdued affair this time around.

There was a bit of mudslinging last week when Marks, Meineke and Battista accused Jenny Dowell of hiding her Labor Party connections. But the only real drama has been Greg Bennett's ratepayers group announcing they would try to slash $2 million from the council's staff costs.

In a letter to the editor this week Mr Bennett said: "We will look at all options and if any redundancies are required we will restrict them to 'non-core' indoor staff."

But after Telstra's announcement that 116 jobs were likely to go at Goonellabah, these comments have been pounced upon by other candidates.

When I rang Mr Bennett to see if he would care to respond or elaborate on this matter he said he had been "hammered" on it and didn't really want to discuss it, referring me back to his policy statement.

But unless you are a tragic council-watcher like me, or have been along to one of the few 'meet the candidates' forums, how are you supposed to know who to give your precious vote to?

There have been a number of questionnaires to the candidates produced by various groups, and we will have one in next week's Echo.

And there has been a comprehensive one done by the Lismore Community Action Network which you can find at lismorecan.word survey-responses/.

A big thank you to Mick Daley who has been filling in while S Sorrensen has been off gallivanting around Asia for the past six weeks. And a belated thankyou and goodbye to Mel Carrero who left us a couple of weeks ago to take up a full-time marketing position. Thankfully for all you fashionistas, she will continue to write her Style File column.

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