Cumberland Council was created mostly out of old Holroyd and Auburn councils and Granville, previously under Parramatta Council.
Voters favour Labor in federal and state elections, but the party has not performed anywhere near as well in local council elections.
Almost all of Holroyd Council moved into Cumberland. That old council was split three ways between Labor, the Liberals and the Holroyd Independents. The Liberals were not represented on the council until 2008, when they won a seat in every ward, the same number as the Labor and independent groups. The Liberals then went on to win five out of twelve seats in 2012, becoming the largest bloc on the council. Liberals served as mayor in 2012 and 2013, before a break in the Liberals allowed Labor’s Greg Cummings to become the last mayor of Holroyd.
Auburn Council elected a large group of independents in 2012. Labor and Liberal only won half of the seats on the council, alongside five independents from different groups. Auburn was split along the M4: areas north of the M4 around Olympic Park moved into Parramatta, while southern parts moved into Cumberland. The middle part of Cumberland covers the old Woodville ward of Parramatta. Since 2008, the ward has elected one Liberal councillor, one Labor and independent Paul Garrard.
The new council is split into five wards- Regents Park, South Granville, Granville, Wentworthville and Greystanes. At a federal level, Labor does best in South Granville while the Liberals do best in Greystanes. Labor won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all five wards in 2016. The independent vote was much higher in the 2012 council elections than in any recent federal or state election.
There are two local parties running a team of independents. Former Parramatta lord mayor Paul Garrard and former Holroyd independent councillor Eddy Sarkis are running for the Our Local Community party. Former Holroyd mayor Nasr Kafrouni is running for the Local Independent Party in the Granville ward. Former Auburn councillor Hicham Zraika is running in South Granville. The Greens are also running a team of candidates in Wentworthville.
Each ward will elect three councillors. Labor should win a seat in every ward, with a chance of a second in some wards. The Liberals will win a seat in most, if not all wards. The remaining seats will fall to one of the numerous independents. It’s hard to see Labor winning a majority, in which case, independents will choose between working with Labor or the Liberals to run the council.
Ben Raue is an electoral analyst and blogger at tallyroom.com.au.