Incumbent mayor Frank Carbone has claimed victory over Australian Labor Party candidate Del Bennett by just 135 votes, and is poised to become Fairfield’s first independent mayor.
While the official declaration remains pending as election officials confirm the numbers, Cr Carbone told the Champion on Saturday night that he was “humbled” by the support shown by the community, saying that the result sent a message to major parties.
“People won’t be taken for granted again,” he said.
“People that live here who want to make a difference – it shows that you can make a difference if you believe in yourself, and if people believe in you.”
Nearly 55 per cent of Fairfield voters did not vote for Liberal or Labor for mayor, choosing instead to favour either minor parties or independent candidates.
The independent tickets worked hard together to share preferences.
In the final count, Cr Carbone took out 37,862 votes to Cr Bennett’s 37,727.
Looking to the future, Cr Carbone said that the first item on his agenda was to “work with all councillors.”
“The more united the council is, the better,” he said.
“Obviously I ask for all my councillor colleagues, whoever they are when they’re elected, to leave politics behind and put the people first.
“The second thing is we’ve shown our vision for the city, and we’ll continue to build a better place for people to live.”
Projects such as making Fairfield Showground into the heart of Fairfield as a Centre of Excellence for sports and community events, improving parks, roads and infrastructure are Cr Carbone’s priorities for the next four years.
Still undecided are the new councillors for Fairfield, which will be finalised in the coming days once the official declaration for mayor has been confirmed.
Councillor ballot papers will be securely transported to Newcastle to be scanned and the count confirmed under the proportional representation system.
Cr Bennett can request a recount of the result.