Countdown begins for Valley poll

By SALLY GORDON

A BIG field of candidates is tipped for the Clarence Valley Council's first election on March 5.

Nine councillors will be elected.

Local government in the Valley has been under administration for around 12 months since the merger of the Maclean shire, Copmanhurst shire, Grafton city and Pristine Waters councils. They were disbanded in the wake of a state-wide shake-up of local government by the Carr Government.

Information sessions for potential local government candidates this week are expected to spark election fever in the Clarence Valley.

A formal briefing will go ahead at 6pm tomorrow at Grafton and 6pm on Thursday at Maclean for future Clarence Valley councillors.

Australian Electoral Commission returning officer for the Clarence Valley Council, Ray Endean, said an AEC representative would attend the information sessions and be able to answer questions.

Mr Endean said as yet no councillor nominations had been received, however, that would change next Monday when the AEC headquarters in Pound Street, Grafton opened for business at 9am.

Nominations for councillor positions officially start on January 24 and close on February 2.

People have to be enrolled with the AEC before 5pm next Monday to be eligible to vote in the local government elections on March 5.

"We'll be advertising in The Daily Examiner several times next week calling for nominations for the elections of nine councillors for the Clarence Valley Council," Mr Endean said.

"The nomination forms have to be lodged with me before the second of February."

Mr Endean said that on Friday, February 4, nominations would be declared. Despite the lack of local political activity so far, Mr Endean anticipates there will be more than a handful of Clarence Valley residents jos- tling for a position.



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