Familiar faces elected onto Cumberland Council

Campaigners: Joseph Rahme and Steve Christou, pictured with fellow candidate Rima Balech spent Saturday getting last minute votes at Merrylands Public School.
Campaigners: Joseph Rahme and Steve Christou, pictured with fellow candidate Rima Balech spent Saturday getting last minute votes at Merrylands Public School.

It’s the new council with no shortage of experience.

At least 11 of the 15 councillors elected on the Cumberland Council previously served on Auburn, Holroyd or Parramatta councils.

A voter backlash against the state government will see Labor control the chamber. Labor won all five wards and could win up to nine seats.

“I’m surprised at how well we’ve gone,’” Greg Cummings said. “The council mergers and M4 tolls contributed, especially in the Greystanes ward. The first thing we’ll do is review everything that has implemented since the administrator took control.”

Re-elected Liberal councillor Ross Grove wasn’t surprised. “It’s been a bumpy road but I’m happy there’s some confidence in what I’ve done fore residents,” he said.

“The most important for us going forward is to focus on creating one new entity. I’ve been on the minority side of council before and have been successful in getting some of my agenda through. Labor will be held to account for everything they’ve said and promised.”

Former Parramatta lord mayor Paul Garrard finds himself on new turf in a new council. “My hope is to do things differently and more effectively,” he said.

“I’m on new turf, where I see areas for improvement. I’m concerned about trends at the Holroyd end of town, particularly with Labor. I’m not satisfied with their reform agenda. I would like to see the new council take on an agenda that reflects best practice.  This council can be everything it wants to be but practices need to change. The community just want to see things get done.”

Cr Grove looks forward to working with Cr Garrard for the first time. “Paul’s a colourful guy but he’s frighteningly effective as a councillor,” he said. “I believe we can all work collaboratively across the chamber.” 

Cr Garrard agreed: “I’ve been around a long time, so I can work with anyone ”

Cr Grove thinks his council will work better together than Parramatta, which will undergo a shake-up.

“The independents will be a driving force in the new council there, which will be very different without Paul Garrard. There will be a dramatic culture change and the political divide will be much more prominent there. I think Cumberland councillors will find more common ground than at Parramatta.”

Labor councillor Steve Christou is one of the few new faces at Cumberland.

“It’s a great honour as I genuinely care about the local community where I’m raising a family,” he said. “I want better services and ensure Granville receives its fair share as it hasn’t in the past.”

Cumberland residents also voted on a poll of electors regarding its pools. More than 75 per cent of the 86,805 votes counted so far were in favour of continuing to subsidise the council’s five pools to keep them all open and maintained.

Likely make up of Cumberland Council:

Granville: Steve Christou (Labor), Joseph Rahme (Liberals) and Ola Hamed (Labor).

Greystanes: Greg Cummings (Labor), Ross Grove (Liberals) and Eddy Sarkis (Our Local Community) or Glen Richardson (Labor).

Regents Park: George Campbell (Labor), Ned Attie (Liberals) and Irene Sims (Residents Action Group Cumberland).

South Granville: Glenn Elmore (Labor), Paul Garrard (Our Local Community) and Tom Zreika (Liberals).

Wentworthville: Lisa Lake (Labor), Michael Zaiter (Liberals) and Suman Saha.