Wednesday, 20 February 2019

MP still pushing for Croppa Creek, Garah and Wollomombi

IN what Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has declared as a ‘victory for people power’, the NSW Electoral Commission has backed down on its previous decision and reinstated the Yetman polling booth for the upcoming 23 March State Election.

Mr Marshall said that while he was still pushing the case for the re-opening of three other booths across the Northern Tablelands – Croppa Creek, Garah and Wollomombi – he was delighted that Yetman voters would have their local polling place open again.

“We can chalk this up as win for good old fashioned people power,” Mr Marshall declared today.

“The Commision;s original decision to scrap the Yetman booth would have had locals driving an up to 120 kilometre round trip to cast their ballot on Election Day.

“That would have bee grossly unfair, especially given how tough our country communities re doing at the moment, so I’m glad common sense – and many locals – has prevailed and the booth will be reinstated.”

Mr Marshall wrote an urgent letter to the NSW Electoral Commisison last Monday, requesting that the Yetman, Croppa Creek, Garah and Chandler (Wollomombi) booths be re-opened for Election Day.

“While the news about Yetman is wonderful, I’m going to continue to apply the pressure to the Commission to provide further good news for the other three communities,” he said.

This would be the first time voters in the Croppa Creek, Garah and Wollomombi areas have not had a local pooling booth at a NSW election.

Mr Marshall has labelled the Commission’s decision to close the booths – and open a new booth in Gilgai, 11 kilometres from Inverell (where there are three booths already) – as “bizarre and inexplicable”.

“I’ve seen some doozies in my time, but this one takes the cake,” Mr Marshall said. “There is simply no logic and no consistency to this decision.

“In the past, the Commission has looked to close booths that have very small turnout of voters or are very close to another polling booth, but none of these fit that description and in fact the Commission has left open several other booths in the Northern Tablelands which have consistently had smaller turnouts than the four they have slated for closure.

“Then to open a new booth, at the same time, so close to Inverell makes no sense whatsoever.

“This decision is simply not fair. It could mean many locals simply don’t vote and get fined because it’s too far to go.

“We live in a country where everyone’s vote counts the same as the next person’s but in my view this decision, made by far away city bureaucrats, is unfair and must be reversed.”

Mr Marshall said he’d already taken dozens of calls from upset locals unsure what they will do.

“We’re simply asking for a fair go from the electoral commission – to ensure everyone in the Northern Tablelands has an equal opportunity to cast their ballot on 23 March, regardless of who they vote for,” he said.

“Leave these booths open and let all people across the Northern Tablelands continue to participate in the democratic process.”

Details on each of the booths to be closed/opened by the NSWEC:

Booth 2011 State election voter turnout 2015 State election voter turnout Round trip to nearest booth
Croppa Creek 70 90 North Star 62km
Wollomombi 104 87 Ebor 64km
Garah 108 84 Boomi 89km or Ashley 64km
* Gilgai n/a n/a Inverell 22km
* new booth

Two booths remaining open:

Booth 2011 State election voter turnout 2015 State election voter turnout Round trip to nearest booth
Toomelah 44 30 Boggabilla 32km
Kingstown 78 80 Uralla 45km

MEDIA: Adam Marshall 0429 440 054

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