Claim your right to vote for the future of our City

I encourage everyone who is eligible to vote for local government elections to take the opportunity to claim their vote. This is a fundamental democratic right that we, as Australians, have and should exercise.

Residents who vote in our area for state and federal elections will already be on the electoral roll. For other eligible voters—including new residents, people who have just turned 18, ratepayers and business owners—the roll closes 6pm on 30 July 2012.

I understand the concerns that few businesses have enrolled to vote in recent elections, but the rules relating to business voting are set by Parliament, not the City, and need to be administered impartially.

Businesses have a right and a responsibility to be involved in decisions about the future of our city. Our Sustainable Sydney 2030 plan, was developed by research and discussion with thousands of residents, businesses and visitors.

We have worked to develop strong, positive relationships with many businesses and business organisations, and they have made clear that they appreciate and support the work we are doing.

Australia has a long and proud history of democracy and fair and open elections. A key characteristic of our electoral system is that politicians standing for public office don't run elections.

The NSW Electoral Commission is responsible for independently running the City of Sydney elections, funded by the council.

It is ludicrous to suggest that a politician should be interfering with the job of the Electoral Commission. Can you imagine if the Prime Minister or a Premier sought to become involved in the work of the independent and impartial Electoral Commission? There would be justifiable public outrage.

The NSW Electoral Commission is conducting a national information campaign to inform business people that they may be eligible to vote in the City of Sydney elections.

I have asked our CEO to offer every support to the Electoral Commission to do their job and inform eligible businesses of their entitlement to vote.

The City of Sydney has agreed to give the NSW Electoral Commission $215,000 so that they can run an awareness campaign encouraging people to vote. The campaign will include print advertising, a website and video, social media campaign and nearly 40,000 letters mailed out to organisations and individuals that may be eligible to enrol to vote.

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