Inner West Independent

Leichhardt Mayor Darcy Byrne re-elected

Leichhardt Mayor Darcy Byrne / Photo: Chris Peken

Labor’s Darcy Byrne has been re-elected Mayor of Leichhardt with the support of the Greens at a meeting of Leichhardt Council on Wednesday night.

Liberal Councillor John Jobling contested the position but was defeated eight votes to four.

Labor’s Linda Kelly was re-elected Deputy Mayor over the Liberals’ Tony Constantino.

Greens Councillor Rochelle Porteous said the Greens and Labor had entered a power-sharing agreement by which Labor will back a Greens mayor and deputy mayor next year in return for Greens support this year.

It is a similar agreement to what was initially proposed after Council elections 12 months ago, but means the mayoralty will be up for grabs in Council’s fourth year.

Mr Byrne thanked Greens councillors for their support, acknowledging they don’t always see eye to eye.

He said he was proud to be re-elected and that childcare would be a second term priority.

“In the next year, Council will be dedicated to solving the childcare crisis and the schools shortage,” he said. “With the biggest baby boom in Australia happening in our own backyard Council must crusade for the needs of children and families.”

Mr Jobling, speaking after the vote, said council needs to focus on fixing the area’s struggling retail sector.

“If it looks like a mortuary, people will not come here, people will not shop here, retailers will not sell here,” he said.

Mr Jobling called for a simplification of the process around development applications, and applauded the work of council officers and staff. He congratulated the Mayor and said he looked forward to working with all councillors over the coming year.

Labor Councillor Simon Emsley said the breakdown of four Labor, four Greens and four Liberals on council “has allowed a clarity of discussion” and “has achieved some good decisions at times”.

Greens Councillor Daniel Kogoy said the council had made a number of positive achievements over the past year, including childcare initiatives, the Renew Leichhardt project and the campaign to save the Annandale Hotel.

Liberal Councillor Vera-Ann Hannaford lamented the Labor-Greens alliance with a wry smile.

“Kermit the Frog said it’s hard being green,” she said. “He was wrong. It’s hard being a Liberal in Leichhardt.”

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