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30 new mayors likely as council contenders face an uneasy weekend


Queensland may soon have as many as 30 new local mayors, and anxious councillors will have to sweat it out over the weekend and into next week as counting continues in the wake of Queensland’s local government poll.

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Observers of the count have told InQueensland some contests are “extremely fluid”, described as a marathon where the lead is changing hourly.

Until the deadline for postal ballots is reached on Tuesday, final results are unlikely to be called.

Mayoral contests that have been classified as “too close to call” include: Barcaldine, Cassowary Coast, Flinders, Mackinlay, Moreton, Mount Isa, Noosa, Northern Peninsula, Paroo, Redland City, South Burnett, Torres and the Aboriginal Shire councils of Doomadgee, Napranum, Palm Island and Wujal Wujal.

Local Government Association of Queensland CEO Greg Hallam said based on current trends his organisation expected to see 30 new mayors elected for the next term.

Bill Ludwig, sitting mayor of Livingstone Shire north of Rockhampton is now expected to lose to challenger Andy Ireland after the race was deemed too tight to call earlier this week.

Number crunchers also have long-serving south east Queensland mayor Karen Williams as the likely winner of Redland City. With 68 per cent of the ballots counted Williams has 44 per cent of the tally, or 2983 votes, ahead of closest challenger Claire Richardson.

Greg Christensen, incumbent mayor of the Scenic Rim, is also predicted to hold on with the help of preferences after a tight three-way race with repeat challenger Tom Sharp and former mayor John Brent.

The latest numbers collated by the Electoral Commission of Queensland have Cassowary Coast, Mount Isa City, Barcaldine, Moreton and Noosa at the tightest battles in the State.

On the Cassowary Coast, sitting councillor Timothy Nolan has the upper hand in an arm wrestle with new candidate Bryce McDonald, separated by 206 votes with 73 per cent of the vote counted.

The two-way tussle has knocked out sitting mayor John Kremastos who has received 24 per cent of the vote.

In the state’s central west at Barcaldine, sitting councillor Sean Dillon is threatening veteran Rob Chandler but only by 86 votes.

In Mount Isa, incumbent mayor Joyce McCulloch is behind by 181 votes to Danielle Slade, who was Labor’s unsuccessful candidate for the newly created seat of Traeger at the 2017 State election.

Noosa Shire is also tipped to have a new mayor with first-time challenger Clare Stewart ahead of Tony Wellington. Although with only 287 votes between them with 59 per cent counted, the all-important postal ballots will have the final say.

At Moreton council, which was rocked last year by the dismissal of sitting mayor Alan Sutherland stemming from police charges of misconduct while in office, challenger Peter Flannery still retains a slim lead over nearest rival Chris Thompson, with 5177 votes between them after 67 per cent of the vote counted.




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