Groups to feature in Dubbo Regional Council election

After early indications that nobody in the Dubbo Regional Council election race was interested in running a ticket or group, four of five wards will feature groups.

All four Dubbo wards, North, East, South and Central will contain at least one group but in Wellington all six candidates will stand independently.

For most people the inclusion of groups was a surprise when it was revealed on Wednesday but the rumours among candidates had been swirling for several days.

It appears the decision of Country Labor to run a group in the East ward, made up of Stephen Lawrence and Cody Jones, was the catalyst.

A rival group was established by Dayne Gumley and Lisa James, who are part of Ben Shields’ team. The two remaining candidates, Chris Edwards and Ana Pateman will be in the ungrouped section of the ballot paper.

In the North ward there are also two groups, although they have links to each other. Ben Shields has elected Tyler Przerada as his running mate, while the other group consists of Merrilyn Mulcahy and Nathan Ellis.

Ms Mulcahy is the president of the Dubbo Ratepayers Association, a group Mr Shields was previously a president of, and which he still has close affiliation with.

The other candidate in North is Jane Diffey, who will stand by herself.

Central Ward includes the group of John Ryan and Josh Black, and that of Vicki Etheridge and Nikki Catelotti, who are also part of the Ben Shields team.

Ungrouped candidates in that ward are Greg Matthews and Kris Stevens.

In South ward, there is just one group, Greg Mohr and Shayne Stiff, from the Ben Shields team. Manny Portelli, Douglas Prior and Kevin Parker are the ungrouped candidates.

In wards with more than one group, there will be above the line voting where a single group can be chosen, with teams appearing in columns from the left side of the ballot, with ungrouped candidates appearing in descending order in a column on the right.

In wards with only one group, there will be no above the line voting but that group will appear in the left column, with ungrouped candidates in another on the right. A ward with no groups will just have candidates in a single column.

The Dubbo Regional Council election takes place on September 9.