The City of Shoalhaven covers parts of the south coast from Shoalhaven Heads to Durras North. Towns in the council include Nowra, Berry, Ulladulla, Milton, Sussex Inlet and Huskisson.
The council has a population of about 106,000 people as of 2019.
- Incumbent mayor and councillors
- Candidate summary
- 2016 results
- Vote breakdown by ward
- Results maps
Ward 1 covers the northern end of the council, including Kangaroo Valley, Berry, Shoalhaven Heads, Bomaderry and most of Nowra.
Ward 2 covers towns around Jervis Bay and to the south of Nowra, including Vincentia, Huskisson, Culburra and the southern outskirts of Nowra.
Ward 3 covers the southern half of the council, Ulladulla, Milton and Sussex Inlet.
Ward 2 was previously constrained to the coast but now stretches to the western border of the council area.
Ward 1 previously covered more area on the south side of the Shoalhaven River, but most of this area has been moved to Ward 2.
The border between Ward 2 and Ward 3 previously ran through the centre of Tomerong, but the town has been moved entirely into Ward 3.
|Ward 1||Ward 2||Ward 3|
|Annette Alldrick (Labor)||Joanna Gash (Independent)||Kaye Gartner (Greens)|
|Nina Digiglio (Greens)||John Levett (Greens)||Mark Kitchener (SIG)|
|Andrew Guile (SIG)||Mitchell Pakes (SIG)||Bob Proudfoot (SIG)|
|John Wells (Independent)||Greg Watson (SIG)||Patricia White (Ind)|
Greg Watson has been the leading figure in the Shoalhaven Independents Group for at least the last two decades. After having served as Mayor of Shoalhaven in the 1970s and 1980s, he won the directly-elected mayoralty in 1999.
Watson was re-elected in 2004 along with six other SIG councillors, giving them a majority. Four independents and two Greens were also elected.
Watson was defeated for re-election in 2008 by another independent, Paul Green, who polled 31% of the primary vote and ended up with 57% after preferences. Watson returned as one of four Shoalhaven Independents councillors, alongside eight other independents and one Green. Those eight independents were elected on six different tickets. Gareth Ward elected a second independent with him in Ward 1, and Paul Green’s running mate took his council seat in Ward 2 with him elected mayor. The other four were elected on solo tickets, and it is not clear if there was any broader faction that some of them may have belonged to.
Green and Ward were both elected to state parliament in 2011: Greens as a Christian Democratic member of the upper house and Ward as the Liberal MP for Kiama. Both vacated the council scene in 2012, but were replaced by another big political identity.
Joanna Gash had held the federal seat of Gilmore since 1996 (she would retire in 2013), and ran her own ticket for council with her as the mayoral candidate at the 2012 council election.
Team Gash won seven council seats, and Gash herself easily won the mayoralty with 63% of the primary vote. This gave her faction a clear council majority. The Shoalhaven Independents were reduced to just three seats, along with one independent and one Green.
The Gash wave did not last. The faction had polled almost 50% for council in 2012, but this dropped to less than 29% in 2016. The vote for Shoalhaven Independents shot up by 15%, and there was also a swing to the Greens of 7.7%. Labor also ran for the council for the first time in recent history.
Team Gash won just one seat in each council ward. Shoalhaven Independents won five, and the Greens also won a seat in each ward. Labor won their first seat.
The mayoral race was a close three-way race. Gash led on 37.4%, followed by the Greens’ Amanda Findley on 32.1% and Watson on 30.5%. Watson’s preferences boosted Findley and she won by 1394 votes.
The current council thus had a split of 5 Shoalhaven Independents, 4 Greens (including the mayor), one Labor and three for Team Gash. Thus a left-wing minority on the council sat alongside two different groups of conservative independents.
Greens and Labor supported Kitchener from the Shoalhaven Independents for deputy mayor and White from Team Gash for assistant deputy mayor in 2016.
White moved up to deputy mayor with Pakes from SIG as assistant deputy mayor, both unopposed, in 2017.
This peace broke down in 2018, when Joanna Gash’s two factional colleagues both broke with her and aligned with the Shoalhaven Independents, giving SIG a majority on the council. The Greens contested both leadership roles that year but lost both races to the incumbents.
Every leadership election since 2018 has been won by the expanded SIG, with Greens and Labor on the losing side, and Gash floating freely.
White and Pakes held those jobs yet again in 2019, with Labor’s Alldrick running with Greens support for deputy mayor. The Greens again contested both jobs unsuccessfully in 2020, with Watson returning to the deputy mayoralty.
Sitting Greens mayor Amanda Findley is running for re-election, and the Greens have announced candidates for all three wards:
Labor has announced lead candidates for all three wards:
- Nicole Moore (Ward 1)
- John Kotlash (Ward 2)
- Liza Butler (Ward 3)
Sitting councillor Nina Digiglio, elected as a Green in 2016, is running for the Shoalhaven Community First ticket:
Serena Copley is leading an independent ticket in Ward 1 while the Shoalhaven Independents ticket for Ward 1 is:
- Cr John Wells
- Selena Clancy
- Col Waller
The election of a Greens mayor in 2016 was a big change from the kinds of people who usually win the mayoralty of Shoalhaven. The normal state of affairs has been restored on the council, with a conservative independent majority in power despite the Greens mayor.
It will be an uphill challenge for Findlay to be re-elected, or for a supportive council to be elected.
If the Labor and Greens vote stays at about the level they polled in 2016, you could see the two parties getting six seats. Labor came close to winning a seat in Ward 3, and did not run in Ward 2. In this scenario, the council would be split 6-6 between the left and right, and the winner of the mayoralty would set the direction of the council.
2016 mayoral election result
|Greg Watson||Shoalhaven Independents||18,196||30.52||+16.1|
2016 mayoral election two-candidate-preferred result
The Shoalhaven Independents Group topped the poll in all three wards, with a vote ranging from 31.5% in Ward 1 to just over 39% in the other two wards. They won one seat in Ward 1 and two each in the other two.
Team Gash came second in each ward, with the Greens third. Each of these parties won one seat each in each ward.
Gash topped the mayoral poll in all three wards. The Shoalhaven Independents vote was highest in Ward 2, but less than the Greens in the other two wards.
The redistribution boosted SIG in wards 1 and 2 at expense of Ward 3. The Greens slightly improved in Ward 3 while Team Gash improved in Ward 2.
Council results by 2016 ward
|Ward||SIG %||GASH %||GRN %||ALP %|
Mayoral results by 2016 ward
|Ward||Gash %||GRN %||SIG %|
Council results by 2021 ward
|Ward||SIG %||GASH %||GRN %||ALP %|
Mayoral results by 2021 ward
|Ward||Gash %||GRN %||SIG %|
Election results at the 2016 City of Shoalhaven mayoral election
Toggle between primary votes for Joanna Gash, Amanda Findley and Greg Watson.