Cumberland council election, 2021

Cumberland council covers suburbs in the centre of Western Sydney, immediately to the south of Parramatta. The council covers Auburn, Berala, Clyde, Girraween, Granville, Greystanes, Guildford, Holroyd, Lidcombe, Merrylands, Pemulwuy and Wentworthville.

The council has a population of about 242,000 as of 2019.

Wards
Cumberland is divided into five wards, with each ward electing three councillors.

Granville ward covers the centre of the new council, and includes the suburbs of Granville, Holroyd, Merrylands and parts of Guildford.

Greystanes ward covers the south-west of the new council, including the suburbs of Greystanes, Pemulwuy, Woodpark and parts of Guildford West.

Regents Park ward covers the eastern end of the new council, including the suburbs of Lidcombe, Berala, and those parts of Auburn north of the railway line.

South Granville ward covers south-eastern parts of the new council, including South Granville and parts of Auburn and Guildford.

Wentworthville ward covers the north-western corner of the new council, including Girraween, Pendle Hill, Wentworthville and South Wentworthville.

Incumbent councillors

Granville Steve Christou (OLC)1 Ola Hamed (Labor) Joseph Rahme (Lib)
Greystanes Greg Cummings (Ind)2 Vacant (Liberal)3 Eddy Sarkis (OLC)
Regents Park Ned Attie (Liberal) George Campbell (Lab) Kun Huang (Labor)
South Granville Glenn Elmore (Labor) Paul Garrard (OLC) Tom Zreika (Lib)
Wentworthville Lisa Lake (Labor) Suman Saha (Labor) Michael Zaiter (Lib)

1Steve Christou resigned from Labor and joined Our Local Community immediately after being elected Mayor in September 2019.
2Greg Cummings was expelled from Labor in October 2018 after not voting for the Labor mayoral candidate in 2017.
3Liberal councillor Ross Grove resigned in 2019 and his seat has not been filled.

History
Cumberland City Council was created out of a merger of Holroyd and Auburn councils, along with the Woodville Ward (Granville) of Parramatta council, in 2016. The 2017 guide covers the previous history of these councils and how much of the new council came from its predecessors.

The last term of Auburn council saw half the seat go to minor party or independent councillors, along with three Liberals and two Labor, which was a low point for Labor.

Holroyd had been dominated by Labor and the Holroyd Independents, but the Liberal Party emerged on the council in 2008 and became the largest party in 2012. Labor and the Holroyd Independents split the mayoralty each year from 2008 to 2012. Liberal councillors held the mayoralty from 2012 to 2014, followed by Labor’s Greg Cummings from 2014 until the council’s abolition in 2016.

The Woodville ward of Parramatta City Council elected two Labor councillors and one Liberal in 2004. Labor and Liberal each won one seat in 2008, with Paul Garrard, who had previously served as a Labor councillor, winning re-election as an independent for the third seat. This result was repeated in 2012.

The 2017 election saw Labor win eight seats, along with five Liberals and two members of the Our Local Community party.

Labor’s hold on the council quickly came unstuck. Labor’s Greg Cummings, a former mayor of Holroyd, lost preselection for mayor to George Campbell, from the Auburn end of the council. Cummings received the support of the Liberal and OLC councillors and won the mayoralty against his party. He was immediately suspended from Labor and was eventually expelled.

In 2019, Cummings abstained from the mayoral election but the Liberal and OLC councillors found another Labor councillor to support for mayor. Steve Christou resigned from the ALP immediately after winning the mayoralty. He subsequently joined the Our Local Community party.

Candidate summary

Labor is running a full ticket across all five wards, with five out of six incumbent Labor councillors running.

The Liberal Party has withdrawn, but three out of four incumbent Liberal councillors are running on independent tickets.

The Our Local Community party is running in all five wards, with all three of their incumbent councillors running.

Former mayor Greg Cummings, who was elected as a Labor councillor in 2017, is running as an independent.

There is one other independent ticket headed by Aparna Vats.

The Greens are running in Wentworthville.

The full candidate list is at the end of this guide.

Assessment
Labor won a majority very narrowly in 2017. Labor managed to win a second seat in the Wentworthville ward off less than 38% of the vote (about 1.5 quotas). The final count saw Labor defeat the OLC candidate by 484 votes. On the other hand, the second Labor candidate in Greystanes missed out on the final seat by just 17 votes, losing to OLC’s Sarkis.

The withdrawal of the Liberal Party shakes things up. Former Liberal voters will likely flock to OLC, as well as to the incumbent Liberals running as independents, but it still probably makes it easier for Labor to win a majority.

There are 7 non-Labor incumbents running for re-election: three OLC, three ex-Liberals and one other independent (Cummings). It seems likely they will collectively win at least one seat in each ward. Cr Christou and Cr Rahme are both running in Granville ward, and Cr Cummings and Cr Sarkis are both running in Greystanes ward. These happened to be Labor’s strongest wards in 2017, but in both wards an ex-Labor councillor is now running against them. It will be hard to tip, but it’ll be hard for the anti-Labor forces to win eight seats.

2017 results

PartyVotes%SwingSeats won
Labor 35,17339.18+11.58
Liberal 23,49426.17-5.25
Our Local Community12,82014.28+14.32
Other independents8,7979.80-22.3
Local Independent Party4,7865.33+5.3
Residents Action Group Cumberland3,1583.52-1.3
Greens 1,5541.73+0.6
Informal8,0308.21

Vote breakdown by ward

Labor topped the primary vote across the council, with their vote ranging from 28% in South Granville to 44.7% in Greystanes. They won two seats in three wards, but did not manage that result in Greystanes, despite polling best in that ward.

The Liberal vote ranged from 22.8% in South Granville to 27.8% in Granville. This was enough to win one seat in each ward.

Our Local Community ran in four wards, with a vote ranging from 12.5% in Wentworthville to 23.9% in South Granville.

WardALP %LIB %OLC %LIP %
Granville43.527.817.111.0
Greystanes44.727.418.78.2
Regents Park40.525.50.00.0
South Granville28.022.823.90.0
Wentworthville37.927.112.57.3

Election results at the 2017 Cumberland City Council election
Toggle between primary votes for Labor, the Liberal Party, Our Local Community, independent candidates and the Local Independent Party.

Candidates – Granville

  • A – Our Local Community
    1. Cr Steve Christou
    2. Samantha Sleiman
    3. Karen Garrard
  • B – Labor
    1. Cr Ola Hamed
    2. Frank Webb
    3. Joshika Naidu
  • C – Independent Liberal
    1. Cr Joseph Rahme
    2. Natalie Issa
    3. Jamie Sleiman
  • Ungrouped
    • Ibtisam Koreel (Independent)
    • Jacob Abraham (Independent)
    • Carly Lewis (Independent)

Candidates – Greystanes

  • A – Labor
    1. Diane Colman
    2. Sandra Doumit
    3. Akin Songur
  • B – Independent
    1. Cr Greg Cummings
    2. John Brodie
    3. Ray Semaan
  • C – Our Local Community
    1. Cr Eddy Sarkis
    2. Vedant Agrawal
    3. Carmen Grima
  • D – Independent
    1. Aparna Vats
    2. Maya Jamal-Eddine
    3. Zaynoun Atie

Candidates – Regents Park

  • A – Labor
    1. Cr Kun Huang
    2. Sabrin Farooqui
    3. Hope Atkins
  • B – Our Local Community
    1. Helen Hughes
    2. Joe Nehme
    3. Muhammad Ali
  • C – Independent Liberal
    1. Cr Ned Attie
    2. Christina Kang
    3. Wen Wei
  • Ungrouped
    • Khaled Sunkesula (Independent)

Candidates – South Granville

  • A – Labor
    1. Cr Glenn Elmore
    2. Mohamad Hussein
    3. Melissa Seymour
  • B – Our Local Community
    1. Cr Paul Garrard
    2. Margaret Allen
    3. Jeffrey Sun

Candidates – Wentworthville

  • A – Labor
    1. Cr Suman Saha
    2. Cr Lisa Lake
    3. Mark Kunach
  • B – Independent Liberal
    1. Cr Michael Zaiter
    2. Monica El-Khoury
    3. Melissa Rahme
  • C – Greens
    1. Sujan Selventhiran
    2. Michael Rynn
    3. Dot Newland
  • D – Our Local Community
    1. Nadima Kafrouni-Saba
    2. Sam Carlino
    3. Sharlie Thiyagarajan

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Hi,

    Ross Grove (Greystanes Ward), resigned from Cumberland Council on 19 June 2019, due to becoming employed with a Western Sydney advocacy/consultancy organisation.

    Council resolved not to hold a by-election, at a July 2019 Council meeting, due to the closeness of the (then) scheduled September 2020 Local Government Elections.

    Ta!

  2. Steve Christou seems to be a bit of a dial-a-quote talking head figure on TV these days on various political panels on various topics. Wonder if this increased profile will mean more votes for OLC at the expense of Labor? I also notice there has been some very heated Twitter exchanges between himself and former Reid/Werriwa MHR Laurie Ferguson and Granville MLA Julia Finn.

  3. Liberal Party had been running here off the back of Ross Grove’s relative popularity, especially around Greystanes. With him out of the picture, I can’t see how the Liberal Party remain competitive in the area and I predict that Labor will increase their majority in Cumberland by 1-2 seats.

  4. As with Parramatta, the Liberals have pulled out of running officially here.
    The following Liberal Councillor’s are running as independents with groups in the following wards:
    Joseph Rahme – Granville, Nader [Ned] Attie – Regents Park and Michael Zaiter – Wentworthville.

  5. The Cumberland district in the last two decades has seen remarkable change.
    The increased percentages of minority cultures have created a new stage for our politicians to weave their magic on.The results from this latest election is the proof of a new centralism in political thinking.Fifty shades of politics melted into one vibrant community.Evolution in action!

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