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17 Dec

Lake Macquarie councillor David Belcher named deputy mayor

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The election of a new deputy mayor for Lake Macquarie hascaused a stir, with two Liberal councillors accusing the outgoing independent deputyof backtracking on a deal to stitch up the position for the Liberal Party.

Labor councillor David Belcher won the position by one vote at Monday’s council meeting, beating Liberal councillor Kevin Baker.

Cr Belcher said it was “an absolute privilege” to be named deputy mayor in his first term on council and said he would continue to advocate for Lake Macquarie as“an accessible and inclusive city”.

However Cr Baker accused Cr Luke Cubis, the only independentto vote for Cr Belcher, of backflipping on a deal to vote Liberal.

“It is incredibly disappointing that Cr Cubis has chosen to turn his back on his conservative values and support the Labor Party,” he said.

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Cr Cubis, who finished his term asdeputy mayor this week, said he told Cr Baker he would only support the Liberalbid if votes for each of the next two years were held on Monday night.

He said a deal made by other independent councillorsrecently to vote forCr Bakerwas done without his consent.

Cr Cubis said he washonouring the original deal thatwas struck last year–that an independent, Labor thenLiberal deputy mayor would serve.

“I can understand his disappointment that they weren’t more organised with their campaign for deputy mayor and were left with the final year of our term as their turn,” Cr Cubis said.

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“The best political move for me would be to vote for the other Lake Mac independents but I believe I’ve chosen the high road and I am voting Labor and Liberal for the remaining two years.”

Cr Jason Pauling, another Liberal councillor,said it was an “absolute betrayal” for Cr Cubis not to vote for Cr Baker.

“The relationship between Lake Macquarie independents and Liberals is at an all-time low despite the overlap in value sets and previous positive interactions,” Cr Paulingsaid.

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