Too many of us take our democratic rights for granted, and in some cases, disregard the importance of casting a vote.
Local government elections, in particular, are often the greatest casualties of a lax attitude.
Traditionally, these elections are not dogged by controversy. They do not attract the same attention and the huge promotional budgets which are invested in state and federal elections.
That does not mean they are any less important or are a poor cousin to the big elections which dominate the news.
To their credit, most councils in the region have finished their four-year term in reasonable shape. No council is embroiled in scandal or awaiting a community backlash.
Local councils tend to have all the qualities which enable them to get on with the job.
They largely attract the right people who have the right reasons to seek election.
But as local government comes under more financial pressure, what is
important today is that the voters elect people with the capacity and skills to look to the future and plan for the challenges that lie ahead.
Single-issue candidates do not represent what local government is all about. While it might be important to deal with one particular issue, the next four years will be full of important discussions, debates and decisions.
It is important each community and district has a strong council made up of committed individuals who cannot only invest the time but who can digest the issues and formulate solutions satisfactorily to meet the expectations of ratepayers and residents.
Local government is the closest government to the people. We have easy access to our elected representatives and the decisions they make impact on communities every day.
The four-year commitment to serve as an elected representative is a major personal investment. What is important is that voters select the people who can do the job and do it well. And as they make their decisions at the ballot box today, they will need to have considered more than profiles, personalities and campaigns.