Lawrence Springborg's Southern Downs seat is expected to be hotly contested at the next state election.
Lawrence Springborg's Southern Downs seat is expected to be hotly contested at the next state election. File

Councillor eyes Springborg's seat

THE race to find a replacement for Lawrence Springborg's Southern Downs electorate is heating up with prominent councillor Cameron Gow emerging as a contender.

The Southern Downs councillor, who has been a voter favourite in local government elections, said he would consider running for Mr Springborg's seat at the next state election due in 2018, after the LNP called for nominations this week.

"There is a political process in place for preselection that I will respect, but if asked (to nominate) I would certainly give it the thought it deserves as it would be an honour to follow in Lawrence's footsteps and represent an amazing community such as the Southern Downs where so much activity is going on," Cr Gow said.

Cr Cameron Gow.
Cr Cameron Gow. Dane Lillingstone

"So I'd consider it I was approached but I haven't been formally asked by anyone from the party to nominate," he said.

The farmer and father of four from Stanthorpe was first elected to council in 2000 at the age of 28 and has polled in the top three Southern Downs councillors in the past three elections.

Fellow Southern Downs councillor Vic Pennisi, also from Stanthorpe, was tipped to be eyeing the seat but yesterday ruled it out.

"It I was ten years younger I would definitely be giving it consideration but no I'm not giving it any thought," Cr Pennisi said.

The news follows the announcement by Mr Springborg - an LNP veteran and long-standing Southern Downs MP - on the weekend that he will end his 27-year political career at the next state election.

The next Queensland State Election is due in January 2018 but speculation is mounting that Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk could call a poll next year in an attempt to stave off the rising popularity of One Nation in the state. Polls show that One Nation support stands at 16% in Queensland.

The Pauline Hanson-led party is expected to flex its muscle in the battle for the Southern Downs seat and said it will announcing its endorsed candidate for the electorate on Thursday.

A Labor Party spokesman said Labor would not be opening nominations for the seat until next year.

LNP State Campaign Director Lincoln Folo said he wouldn't be surprised if councillors were among candidates being fielded by the LNP.

"Local government is a strong stepping stone for state and federal politics," Mr Folo said.

"We have had plenty of excellent councillors representing the party such as Tim Nicholls and Warren Truss."

The LNP candidate will be chosen by eligible members of the Southern Downs party unit, Mr Folo said.

"The Southern Downs branch will make its own choice as to who will best represent the party.

"Councillors may be attractive to them or maybe someone else who has served the community well."

LNP nominations for the seat close on January 16, 2017.



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