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Mayor Regan makes history as Wakehurst MP after successful campaign

Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan, the Independent candidate for Wakehurst in the 25 March NSW State Elections, has successfully made history as the first independent to win the seat of Wakehurst.

This comes after his successful bid to represent his electorate in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly (the lower of the two houses of the Parliament of New South Wales).

Mr Regan won Wakehurst by a comfortable margin against fellow candidates Ethan Hrnjak (The Greens), Greg Mawson (Sustainable Australia), Susan Sorensen (Animal Justice Party) and Toby Williams (Liberal Party).

Around 8pm his lead was unassailable and unlikely to be diminished by preference votes, so he was declared the winner.

The contest is currently (7am Sunday), still too tight to call between Jacqui Scruby and Rory Amon at Pittwater.

In Manly, the contest is also tight with incumbent James Griffin most likely to be re-elected. This will be addressed in a different article to follow.

The announcement came two hours ahead of the official declaration that Labor had won the NSW State Election under leader Chris Minns, after 12 years in opposition.

In an interview shortly after he was declared the new MP for Wakehurst, Mr Regan said that the “promises made, but not delivered” and the “lack of empathy” by the NSW Liberal government contributed to voters deserting them.

He also acknowledged “there’s a lot of local issues: the hospital and its privatisation; the Lizard Rock development, which had the community up in arms; the current bus crisis…” that contributed to voters placing their trust in him to deal with.

Mr Regan was also highly critical of the “pork barrelling” undertaken by the state and federal Liberals during the issuing of grants from the $541.8m Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Package program. Funds were awarded to regions predominantly held by Liberal MPs and almost completely bypass Labor-held constituencies.

Sophie Scamps’ support

The announcement of Mr Regan’s win coincided with the arrival of Dr Sophie Scamps, the MP for Mackellar, who wished him well.

The Federal Division of Mackellar, at 233 square kilometres, encloses the Wakehurst district and extends to Barrenjoey Headland on the northern tip of Palm Beach.

Ms Scamps’ victory in the 21 May 2022 Australian Federal Election overturned a seat that had been held by the Liberal Party for all but two months of its existence since its foundation in May 1949.

Mr Regan also overturned a safe Liberal seat – Wakehurst had been held since 1991 by the former NSW Minister for Health and Medical Services, Brad Hazzard, who has just retired after 32 years in politics.

Wakehurst electorate, sandwiched between Pittwater to the north-east, Davidson to the north-west, Willoughby to the south-west and Manly to the south-east, has been won by the Liberal Party at all but two elections since its creation in 1962.

(Labor held it during the years 1978 – 1984, whilst Neville Wran was Premier of NSW).

Three-term mayor

Mr Regan has had a long and much-respected tenancy as Northern Beaches Council leader – elected mayor for three consecutive terms.

Under his stewardship, Council won the distinguished 2022 AR Bluett Memorial Award for outstanding achievement in local government, which recognises the most progressive metropolitan and rural council out of 128 councils across the state. Northern Beaches Council was crowned Metropolitan winner.

This came about after the NSW Government oversaw the forced amalgamation of Manly, Pittwater and Warringah councils into Northern Beaches Council on 12 May 2016. It took visionary and inclusive leadership to unite often competing interests and rival factions into a cohesive administrative body.

Prior to that, Mr Regan was the elected mayor of Warringah Council from 13 September 2008 until the merger, representing the independent Your Warringah Party, which was renamed Your Northern Beaches in 2017, after the amalgamation.

Mr Regan, one-time clerk in the City of Sydney Engineer’s Department, grew up in the Western Suburbs and attended Holroyd High School in Greystanes, followed by Meadowbank TAFE.

He relocated to the Northern Beaches near the start of the 21st Century and served as Manager of Manly Council from 2005-2009.

As Wakehurst MP, Mr Regan’s new region of responsibility encompasses the suburbs of Bantry Bay, Beacon Hill, Collaroy, Cromer, Forestville, Killarney Heights, Narraweena, Oxford Falls and Wheeler Heights, and significant parts of the suburbs of Brookvale, Belrose, Dee Why, Frenchs Forest and Terrey Hills.

Now that Mr Regan has been elected to the Parliament of NSW, he will relinquish his mayoral robes and duties for Northern Beaches Council.

However, in accordance with Section 275(5) of the Local Government Act, 1993, if he wishes, Mr Regan is permitted to retain his office as councillor “for the balance of the person’s term of office as a councillor or for the period of 2 years (whichever is the shorter period).”

Deputy Mayor Sue Heins, Councillor for Curl Curl ward, is expected to accede to the role and govern Council until a vote, likely in April. Cr Heins is also a member of Mr Regan’s Your Northern Beaches Independent Team, of which there are six serving councillors.

Source:  Manly Observer

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