Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann is disappointed by the rise in his local election bill. Photo Lachie Millard (FILE)
Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann is disappointed by the rise in his local election bill. Photo Lachie Millard (FILE)

Rate payers to fork out for huge local election bill

THE bill to run the Somerset local election has arrived – and it’s a staggering 70 per cent higher than the 2016 election.

Ultimately, the brunt of the cost will be worn by rate payers, despite the Electoral Commission Queensland absorbing public health costs during the coronavirus pandemic.

Somerset Regional Council mayor Graeme Lehmann was disappointed with the bill.

“While we understand that the ECQ had some poll delays as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, we are obviously concerned about the increase, which is far more than inflation,” he said.

READ MORE: How many didn’t vote in Lockyer, Somerset election

“Ratepayers of course will end up paying for the performance of ECQ with council elections and for Somerset.”

For the 2020 election, Somerset council’s bill came in above $160,000.

In the Lockyer Valley, the bill was $243,674 – up more than $20,000 from the 2016 election.

According to information provided by ECQ, a cost estimation to conduct the local elections was provided to local councils one year before election so it could be incorporated into budget costs.

From the 77 local government areas in Queensland, an ECQ spokesperson said 39 areas incurred costs less than the estimate provided.

READ MORE: Lockyer mayor runs unopposed for 2020 council tilt

And where the actual cost of election delivery was higher than the cost estimate provided to councils, the ECQ absorbed the additional costs so that councils were only required to pay the amount of the estimate provided previously

Cr Lehmann was concerned about the bill.

“We understand that the state government has ordered a review into how ECQ performed in the 2020 election and hope that there will be positive outcomes from this review,” he said.


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