Parramatta council election, 2021

The City of Parramatta covers central parts of Western Sydney. The council is bordered by the M2 to the north, and mostly bordered by the M4 to the south.

The council covers Parramatta, North Parramatta, Harris Park, Rosehill, Camellia, Westmead, Northmead, North Rocks, Oatlands, Carlingford, Epping, Dundas Valley, Telopea, Dundas, Rydalmere, Ermington, Wentworth Point, Newington, Silverwater and Sydney Olympic Park.

The council has a population of approximately 257,000, as of 2019.

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

Dundas ward covers central parts of the council, including Dundas, Ermington, Telopea, Oatlands, North Parramatta and parts of Rydalmere. The ward is bounded by Victoria Road and the river to the south, Church Street to the west, and Pennant Hills Road to the north-west. The north-eastern boundary runs through Dundas Valley.

Epping ward covers the north-eastern corner of the council, including Epping and Dundas Valley. The ward is bounded by Pennant Hills Road to the west, and the south-western boundary runs through Dundas Valley.

North Rocks ward covers the northern edge of the council, including Winston Hills, North Rocks, Carlingford and parts of Northmead. The ward is bounded by Pennant Hills to the south and east, and by Toongabbie Creek on its south-western corner.

Parramatta ward covers the Parramatta city centre and the western end of the council, including Westmead, Toongabbie, Pendle Hill and Constitution Hill. The ward is bounded by Toongabbie Creek, Pennant Hills Road, Church Street, Victoria Road, Macarthur Street, Hassall Street and the railway line.

Rosehill ward covers the south-eastern corner of the council, including Rosehill, Wentworth Point, Newington, Silverwater, Harris Park, Clyde, Sydney Olympic Park and parts of Rydalmere and Parramatta. The ward’s boundary lies on the south-eastern edge of the Parramatta City Centre and then runs along the Parramatta River and Victoria Road.

Three wards were left alone. There was a small change on the border between Dundas and Rosehill wards. The Dundas ward expanded south of Victoria Road to the river, taking in the area bounded by Macarthur St and the former Carlingford train line (and future light rail line). This area was previously part of Rosehill.

Incumbent councillors

Dundas Benjamin Barrak (Lib) Pierre Esber (Labor) Michelle Garrard (OLC)
Epping Donna Davis (Labor) Bill Tyrrell (Liberal) Lorraine Wearne (Ind)
North Rocks Bob Dwyer (Liberal) Vacant (Labor)1 Andrew Jefferies (Lib)
Parramatta Phil Bradley (Greens) Sameer Pandey (Lab) Martin Zaiter (Liberal)
Rosehill Steven Issa (Liberal) Patricia Prociv (Labor) Andrew Wilson (OLC)

1 Labor councillor Paul Han died in May 2020.

The Parramatta municipality was created in 1862. It was joined by neighbouring councils covering Granville, Dundas and Ermington and Rydalmere were created between 1885 and 1891. These four councils were merged to form the City of Parramatta in 1948.

Throughout the 20th century Parramatta was usually led by independent mayors, interrupted by a few periods of Labor mayors.

Independent Alan Hyam served as mayor, and then lord mayor, from 1986 until 1991. Fellow independent mayor John Haines led the council throughout the 1991-1995 term, and in the following term Haines shared the mayoralty with fellow independents Paul Garrard and John Books.

Labor’s David Borger became lord mayor following the 1999 election: the first Labor mayor since the mid-1980s. The last three-and-a-half years of that term saw the mayoralty shared by independents Lorraine Wearne, John Haines and Paul Garrard.

Labor won a majority on the council in 2004, holding eight seats, alongside five Liberals and two independents. Labor’s Julia Finn, David Borger and Paul Barber held the mayoralty in that term.

The Liberal Party gained ground at the 2008 election, winning a sixth seat. Labor dropped from eight seats to six, with three independents. Parramatta’s first Liberal mayor, Tony Issa, took office after the 2008 election, and the Liberal Party shared the mayoralty in that term with independents Paul Garrard and Lorraine Wearne.

The 2012 election saw more gains for the Liberal Party. They won a seventh seat, with Labor dropping to five. Lorraine Wearne elected a second councillor on her team, as well as independent Paul Garrard. The Liberal Party’s John Chedid and Scott Lloyd held the mayoralty from 2012 until 2015, when they handed over to Garrard, who led the council until the council was sacked in 2016.

The 2016 council amalgamation process saw the existing council removed, but the council remained mostly intact. The southern Woodville ward, covering most of Granville, was moved into the new Cumberland Council, while the northern border shifted further north to take in areas from the Hills and Hornsby councils, so that the northern border was aligned with the M2.

The Liberal Party again won the most seats on the council at the 2017 election, winning six out of fifteen seats. Labor won five seats, and the Greens won one. The other three seats went to independents. Lorraine Wearne returned to the council, while the Our Local Community party won two seats. Andrew Wilson returned to the council, along with Michelle Garrard, daughter of the former mayor Paul Garrard, who was elected to neighbouring Cumberland Council for the same party.

The council has been run since 2017 by an alliance of independents and Liberals.

The 2017 mayoral election was close. Independent Andrew Wilson gained the support of the six Liberals and Lorraine Wearne, while the Greens and Michelle Garrard supported Labor’s Pierre Esber. Garrard was then elected unopposed as deputy mayor.

Since that election, every subsequent mayoral or deputy mayoral election has seen Wilson, Garrard and sometimes Wearne allying with the Liberals against Labor and the Greens.

Garrard has held the deputy mayoralty since 2017, while the mayoralty was handed over from Wilson to Liberal councillor Bob Dwyer in 2019.

Candidate summary
The Greens have announced candidates for four wards:

Independent candidate Kellie Darley is running in Dundas.

Parramatta City is not quite on a knife’s edge. It is likely that two seats would need to flip to change the direction of the council.

A bloc of three independents have generally been able to work with the Liberal Party, although that independent bloc hasn’t always been solid.

If the Liberal Party were to lose a seat to Labor or the Greens, they would need those independents to be more solid but Labor and the Greens would still fall short of a majority.

Labor and the Liberal Party should be able to each win a seat in each ward, and it’s hard to see the Liberal Party losing one of their two seats in North Rocks, which is a much more conservative area than the rest of the council. This gives the Liberal Party an edge overall, and means there isn’t really any Liberal seats that would be easy to flip.

None of the three independents is particularly secure. Wilson polled less than half a quota in Rosehill in 2017 and could well lose to the Greens or Labor. Wearne is the strongest, but still only polled 19%. There would be more potential for the left to gain seats at the expense of these independents than from the Liberals.

2017 results

PartyVotes%SwingSeats won
Liberal 35,98736.45-6.86
Labor 30,85031.25+8.55
Local Independent Party8,8458.96+9.0
Greens 7,3107.400.01
Our Local Community6,9907.08+7.12
Lorraine Wearne Independents4,0554.11-4.01
Christian Democrats2,6832.72+2.7
Other independents1,2771.29-4.7
Australia First7300.74+0.7

Vote breakdown by ward

The following two tables show the vote in each ward before and after the recent redistribution.

The Liberal Party topped the primary vote in all five wards, with a vote ranging from 32.1% in Parramatta ward, to 48.2% in North Rocks.

The ALP came closest to overtaking the Liberal Party in Parramatta, with a vote ranging from 23.5% in Epping to 37.8% in North Rocks.

The Greens ran in three wards, with 12% in Epping and Rosehill and over 13% in Parramatta, where they won a seat.

The Local Independent Party ran in four wards, with a vote ranging from 8.7% in Rosehill to 13.9% in Dundas.

Our Local Community ran in three wards, with a vote ranging from 9.3% in Parramatta to 15.6% in Dundas. Lorraine Wearne ran only in Epping, where she polled 19.2%.

The redistribution was very minor and only affected two wards. The Liberal vote slightly increased in Rosehill and decreased in Dundas. The Labor vote slightly increased in Dundas and decreased in Rosehill.

Pre-redistribution vote numbers

North Rocks48.

Post-redistribution vote numbers

North Rocks48.

Election results at the 2017 City of Parramatta election
Toggle between primary votes for the Liberal Party, Labor, Local Independent Party, the Greens, Our Local Community and Lorraine Wearne.

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