The Hills council election, 2017

The Hills cover north-western suburbs of Sydney. The council stretches from Baulkham Hills in the south to Wisemans Ferry in the north, and also covers Castle Hill, Bella Vista, Kellyville, Glenhaven, Beaumont Hills, Annangrove, Kenthurst, Nelson and Maroota.

Council amalgamations
The Hills council mostly remained intact, but lost its southernmost tip to the expanded City of Parramatta. This area covered North Rocks and part of Carlingford, and was bounded on the northern end by the M2 (although other areas south of the M2 remain in the Hills). This area had a population of about 29,000 as of 2014, so this reduced the population of the Hills Shire from 188,000 to 158,000.

Wards
The Hills is divided into four wards, with each ward electing three councillors.

Central ward covers Castle Hill and northern parts of Kellyville. East ward covers eastern parts of Baulkham Hills and parts of West Pennant Hills. North ward covers most of the council’s land mass, including Beaumont Hills, Glenhaven, Annangrove, Kenthurst and Maroota. West ward covers Bella Vista and the remainder of Kellyville.

Redistribution
About half of the former East ward was transferred to the City of Parramatta, and this required the wards to all shift north.

East ward shift to the north-west, taking in part of Baulkham Hills and bringing the boundary close to the centre of Castle Hill.

West ward did not gain any extra territory, but lost a small area on the north side of the M2. Central ward shifted to the north-west, gaining areas around Beaumont Hills and Kellyville from the North and West wards.

North ward lost a small area near Beaumont Hills.

Incumbent councillors

Central Tony Hay (Labor) Jeff Lowe (Liberal) Yvonne Keane (Liberal)
East Alan Haselden (Liberal) Vacant (Liberal)1 Ryan Tracey (Labor)
North Peter Gangemi (Liberal) Robyn Preston (Liberal) Vacant (Liberal)2
West Michelle Byrne (Liberal) Raymond Harty (Labor) Mike Thomas (Liberal)

1Liberal councillor Andrew Jefferies resigned from council in July 2016 to serve on the Parramatta advisory committee after his part of the council was transferred to the City of Parramatta.
2Liberal councillor Mark Taylor was elected to state parliament as member for Seven Hills in 2015, and stepped down from the council in March 2017, as required under state legislation restricting the right of sitting MPs to sit on councils for more than two years after election to parliament.

History
The Hills Shire (previously known as Baulkham Hills Shire) has traditionally been dominated by independents, but the area has long been dominated by the Liberal Party at other levels of government.

The 2004 election saw three Labor councillors elected, and two Community First councillors. Six independents were elected, along with one councillor on the Protect Our Garden Shire ticket. The Liberal Party did not contest the election, but four of those six independents went on to stand for the Liberal Party at other elections.

The Liberal Party first ran official candidates for Baulkham Hills in 2008, and swept into power in a landslide. The Liberal Party won two out of three seats in all four wards, with the remaining seat in each ward going to the Labor Party. This wiped out the independents, and produced a council with eight Liberal and four Labor councillors.

The 2012 election saw the Liberal Party improbably gain even further ground, winning all three seats in the North ward, for a total of nine seats on the council. The other three seats went to Labor.

The southern end of the council (containing areas south of the M2) were transferred to the City of Parramatta in 2016.

Candidate summary
Labor are running:

  • Central – Tony Hay
  • East – Ryan Tracey
  • North – Immanuel Selvaraj
  • West – Raymond Harty

Assessment
The Hills is a very strong area for the Liberal Party. They will undoubtedly remain the largest party on the council, and probably will win the council’s new directly-elected mayoralty. Having said that, it is hard for anyone to win two out of three seats in a ward, let alone doing so in every ward. Independents are not strong in the Hills, but if such a strong independent emerges they could take away the Liberal Party’s second seat in a ward. It will also be hard for the party to hold on to their lock on the North ward.

2012 council result

Party Votes % % where contested Swing Post-redist %
Liberal 64,480 67.1 67.1 11.8 68.2
Labor 21,635 22.5 22.5 2.1 20.4
Building Australia Party 4,448 4.6 4.6 4.6 4.4
Peter Dimbrowsky 1,752 1.8 7.5 1.8 2.2
Greens 1,501 1.6 6.2 1.6 1.9
Liberal Democratic Party 1,466 1.5 6.0 1.5 1.9
Others 840 0.9 1.1 0.9 1.1

Ward breakdown – 2012 council results
The Liberal Party dominated the Hills at the 2012 election, with a vote ranging from 66.4% in the east to 71% in the north.

Labor’s vote ranged from 13.6% in the north to 27.8% in the west.

Vote for other candidates ranged from 5% in the west to 15% in the north.

Ward LIB % ALP % OTH %
Central 68.0 18.8 13.2
East 66.4 22.7 10.8
North 71.2 13.6 15.2
West 66.9 27.8 5.3

Election results at the 2012 Hills council election
Click on the ‘visible layers’ box to toggle between primary votes for the Liberal and Labor parties.

The following map shows the location of booths at the 2012 council election. Click on each booth to see the booth name and the vote for each party, including minor parties.

About the Author

Ben Raue is the founder and author of the Tally Room. If you like this post, please consider donating to support the Tally Room.