MEMBERS of the Orange Ratepayers’ Association have challenged Cr Kevin Duffy’s position on Orange City Council claiming he lives in Borenore in Cabonne not in the Orange local government area in an attempt to have him dismissed.
Cr Duffy cited his address as 1 Duncanson Drive and was registered on the residential roll when he nominated for council in August.
Under the Local Government Act, residents from outside the council area can only run as a candidate if they own or lease rateable land in Orange but must be registered on the non-residential roll.
If the legal challenge is upheld it could mean Orange City Council is forced into a by-election just four months after the new council came to office. Association vice-president Cyril Smith said the group wrote to the Electoral Commission following approaches by several community members concerned about Cr Duffy’s eligibility on council - but he would not say how many.
“We thought it was serious enough that we sent off the initial request to the [administrative decisions] tribunal to investigate,” he said.
“It’s keeping to our charter to make sure everything is accountable and transparent with councillors.”
But Cr Duffy said he moved to Duncanson Drive at least two months prior to September’s elections when he started working for Orange Buslines.
“I think everyone’s entitled to make allegations and it has to go through the correct process,” he said.
“I don’t know what [the association’s] motivation is.
“It’s not the first time someone has lodged a complaint with a government department about me.”
A spokeswoman for the Administrative Decisions Tribunal said the case was listed for directions on January 22 when a hearing date could be decided and a timetable for filing supporting documents will be set.
“No decision will be made on that day,” she said.
Cr Duffy said he expected the hearing to be a “long drawn out process” but said he did not have an axe to grind with anyone.
“It’s very hard, the people of Orange want council to get on moving with issues happening around the place,” he said. “My immediate concerns are council concerns like planning issues, welfare and social issues. I want to represent ratepayers.”
Mr Smith denied the group was attempting to fill Cr Duffy’s spot on council with one of its members, despite himself and fellow members Brian Wood and John Da Rin missing out on a spot on council.