Local Land Serviceelections progressing

I write to provide an update on how the inaugural Local Land Services board member elections are progressing.

The level of nominations for the board member elections has been pleasing, with many excellent candidates with highly relevant skills and experience standing.

With 261 candidates standing, each of the 11 Local Land Services regions will have a strongly contested election.

Voter enrolment across the11 Local Land Services regions has averaged about 8 per cent of those eligible to vote.

While this is a disappointingly low base of voters who will determine the results of the first regional elections, it is important to provide some context to that result.

While the new Local Land Services structure has been successful in attracting significantly more candidates than previous Livestock Health and Pest Authorities elections, Local Land Services has not, at its first attempt, been successful in attracting higher levels of voter support.

Local Land Services has both a challenge and a responsibility to increase the proportion of land holders voting in future elections.

Indeed, over time it will be reasonable to use the proportion of landholders voting as a measure of success for Local Land Services and an indication of the feeling of local ownership and the importance of community input.

A number of reasons have been offered for the low level of enrolments, ranging from a complicated form to complete, disbelief that it was necessary to have a re-enrolment process at all, the timing of the election, to just general apathy or farmers being more focussed on drought or harvest.

While it is possible for me to seek to rationalise or justify each of these reasons, we are where we are.

I thank those that made the effort to enrol and to have a say in the future of shaping Local LandServices.

The Local Land Services Board of Chairs will undertake a comprehensive review of potential regulatory, process and statutory changes which will ensure future elections are simpler and more streamlined.

For those landholders who chose not to enrol, I acknowledge more must be done to win their confidence in the future of Local Land Services. The conversation with farmers and community members about how Local Land Services can be relevant and valuable to them starts now.

Regional Boards are committed to achieving new standards ofcustomer service and putting processes, such as Local Community Advisory Groups, in place so customers have a much stronger say in how their Local Land Services operate.

Voting in the inaugural elections will close at 5pm on March 12, and I look forward to the elected board members having full input into the strategy, business decisions and governance of their Local Land Services region.

For more information, contact Local Land Services at 1300 795 299 or visit www.lls.nsw.gov.au

John Macarthur-Stanham

Chairman LLS Board of Chairs

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