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)x Ola Hamed (Labor) Joseph Rahme (Lib)
Greystanes Greg Cummings (Ind)x Ross Grove (Liberal) 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.

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
Watch this space.

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.

It’s hard to say whether the succession of ex-Labor mayors supported by conservatives will harm Labor or the conservatives. If Labor’s vote holds up, they should regain Greg Cummings’ seat and would have a good chance of winning a second in Greystanes or Granville. If they fall, their worst result would probably be one seat in each ward.

The Our Local Community party now has three incumbent councillors, all of whom would have a chance of winning. Garrard is particularly strong in South Granville, excluding the possibility of two Labor councillors in that ward. If Sarkis or Christou are re-elected that will likely mean one Labor and one Liberal, although it’s possible the Liberals could be locked out of a ward if their vote drops.

It’s hard to see Greg Cummings winning, with Labor, Liberal and OLC also competing for just three seats in a ward where Labor polled almost 45% in 2017.

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.

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