Lismore councillor Greg Bennett.
Lismore councillor Greg Bennett. Hamish Broome

'I'm not part of Lismore': Why councillor decided to quit

THE decision to move away from Lismore is the reason why two-term councillor Greg Bennett has handed in his resignation.

Lismore City Councillor Greg Bennett was one of two councillors last week who announced they were stepping away from their roles one year out from the NSW Local Government elections.

 

COUNCIL: From top left, councillors Bill Moorhouse, Neil Marks, Gianpiero Battista, Greg Bennett, Adam Guise and Darlene Cook. Seating, Elly Bird, Eddie Lloyd, Mayor Isaac Smith, Vanessa Ekins and Nancy Casson.
COUNCIL: From top left, councillors Bill Moorhouse, Neil Marks, Gianpiero Battista, Greg Bennett, Adam Guise and Darlene Cook. Seating, Elly Bird, Eddie Lloyd, Mayor Isaac Smith, Vanessa Ekins and Nancy Casson.

 

Cr Bennett joins Gianpiero Battista, who made the announcement on social media he too was resigning from the council effective immediately because he can "no longer" work with the council to effect change.

But Cr Bennett, who will remain in the role of councillor until August 31, said he was resigning for "very different" reasons to Mr Battista.

He has been in council for the last eight years and had planning to move out of NSW with his family for a while.

"About two years (ago I said) I wasn't going to recontest the election, about 12 months ago I put my farm on the market," Cr Bennett said.

>>SEE MORE: Lismore City councillor's 'mixed feelings' over shock resignation

Explaining his decision in during this month's council meeting, Cr Bennett said his property had sold just before Christmas and was due to settle about now.

"I don't think anyone would have predicted (COVID-19) crisis or there would have been another year on our term," he said.

"But I'm not part of Lismore now.

"This would have been the final meeting of our council term if we had have done our normal terms."

Deputy mayor Darlene Cook acknowledged Cr Bennett had been "very influential" in the "questioning of council finances" and quite the driver for getting the internal audit committee started.

She added he'd driven a lot of issues and was "very dedicated to this committee" over his two-terms in council.

Meanwhile, Cr Neil Marks, who jovially admitted he didn't always see eye-to-eye with Cr Bennett or Mr Battista, said "losing two councillors … (is) not something any council wants to see".

"It's about having a debate and have people there to put views forward and come to a consensus in the end," Cr Marks said.

"I wish them well into the future."

Lismore City Council will go to the polls again on September 4, 2021, after the pandemic disrupted plans for the 2020 NSW Local Government election.