Thursday, 14 May 2020
Leichhardt Electorate: Local Government Elections
The recent Queensland local government elections saw sweeping changes to those who will lead their local communities across my electorate for the next four years. The local government elections saw eight new mayors elected in our various Indigenous communities located across my electorate. They include Wujal Wujal Mayor Bradley Creek, Hope Vale Mayor Jason Woibo, Kowanyama Mayor Robert Sands, Pormpuraaw Mayor Richard Tarpencha, Aurukun Mayor Kerrie Tamwoy, Napranum Mayor Janita Motton, Northern Peninsula Area Mayor Patricia Yusia and Torres Strait Island Regional Council Mayor Phillemon Mosby.
There are actually only two mayors in the Indigenous communities across my electorate who were re-elected. One was Lockhart River Mayor Wayne Butcher, and the other was Mapoon Shire Mayor Aileen Addo. Torres Shire Council Mayor Vonda Malone and Weipa Town Authority Chair Michael Rowlands, along with Cook Shire Mayor Peter Scott, were all re-elected.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the outgoing mayors and councillors across the various indigenous communities for their service over the past four years. I would also like to welcome and acknowledge all of the new incoming councillors across the Indigenous communities to their new roles. We are all facing unprecedented challenges that the coronavirus pandemic has presented, and there's absolutely no doubt that their leadership in moving forward is going to be more important than ever.
A little closer to home, the Mareeba Shire Council elected a new leader in Mayor Angela Toppin following the retirement of long-serving mayor and former Queensland minister Tommy Gilmore. Douglas Shire Council elected a new leader in Michael Kerr, who defeated the incumbent, Julia Leu, in a hard fought race, and it's great to see that Michael has really hit the ground running and is making some great decisions there. There's certainly a whole new spark in what's happening in the Douglas Shire, and I look forward to working very closely with him into the future.
Cassowary Coast Regional Council and Tablelands Regional Council also saw new leaders elected in Mayor Mark Nolan and Mayor Rod Marti. Rod replaces previous Mayor of Tablelands Regional Council Joe Paronella, who had also decided, like Tom Gilmore from Mareeba, that it was time to retire.
Cairns Regional Council Mayor Bob Manning was re-elected for the third time, but there were a few new faces across the various council divisions, including Amy Eden, Kristy Valley, Rob Pyne and Rhonda Coghlan. We're certainly looking forward to their new enthusiasm, and I'd like to take the opportunity to congratulate Mayor Manning on his re-election and extend my congratulations to the four new division councillors for their success. I'd also like to thank the unsuccessful councillor, John Schilling, who had done a great job. Unfortunately, in this job you never know how you will go, particularly with a difficult election like we had. The COVID election was very difficult to campaign in, but I think he should be recognised for the work that he did and also thank him for his contribution.
Local government will no doubt play a very critical role as we chart the road to recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Our local elected representatives, irrespective of where they are located, will be instrumental in leading their respective communities along this path.
Finally, I would like to take the opportunity to wish all the new mayors and councillors all the success in their roles. I look forward to meeting with them personally when the time to do so is appropriate and I'm able to travel to these far-reaching areas.