WARRNAMBOOL is likely to have a new mayor before Christmas following Michael Neoh’s shock by-election candidacy.
The incumbent mayor announced he would run as the National Party candidate at the South West Coast by-election and will therefore have to take leave of absence from council duties.
The mayoral appointment is scheduled for November 2, roughly in the period when a by-election may take place.
Legislative Assembly speaker Telmo Languiller is yet to declare when the by-elections in South West Coast and neighbouring Polwarth will take place. The snap polls were triggered by the resignations of former premier Denis Napthine and former transport minister Terry Mulder respectively.
A Victorian Electoral Commission spokeswoman said the Speaker had to issue the writ for a by-election within one month of an MP’s official resignation. This would mean the writ will be issued before October 3.
“The Speaker (Mr Languiller) also determines the by-election timeline; election day can be between 25 and 58 days from the date the writ is issued,” the spokeswoman said.
Under this timeframe, the South West Coast by-elections could be held on any Saturday between October 31 and November 28.
The final date would coincide with the approximate period when state elections are held in Victoria every four years.
Cr Neoh said council implications resulting from his candidacy would be a matter for discussion over the coming days.
“The mayoral issue is something I will discuss more fully in the next few days but today is about my decision to run for the National Party,” Cr Neoh said.
The mayoral issue is something I will discuss more fully in the next few days...Warrnambool mayor Michael Neoh
Councillors unanimously approved on Monday night Cr Peter Sycopoulis’ request to be absent from council meetings from September 26 to November 16.
His nominated period means both Cr Sycopoulis and Cr Neoh will both miss the mayoral ballot.
If Cr Neoh wins the by-election, it will end a council career that started in mid-2005 following a vote countback.