Election date change shock
COUNCILLORS were in debate yesterday when news filtered through that Anna Bligh had called a state election.
And they weren't pleased.
The timing of the state poll means the council elections, which were to have been held on March 31, have been postponed, probably until the end of April, throwing the re-election campaigns of councillors into chaos.
Some are now calling for the Government to sanction an additional six months - putting the council elections back to September - so there can be some certainty about setting new budgets.
But Mayor Brad Carter was more sanguine yesterday.
He said although the Premier's announcement had come as "quite a surprise" he respected her right to set the date of her choosing, no matter how much disruption it caused.
"The important thing is that a new date for the council elections is set quickly and is adhered to.
"The community needs some certainty and candidates need to know so they can plan their campaigning," he said.
"I would like to assure the public that the delivery of services by Rockhampton Regional Council will continue uninterrupted.
"There are some key projects that will go ahead no matter when the election is called."
He said that for his own part the date of the election was not important.
"It's not going to make much of an impact on my plans.
"As mayor I have to balance my duties with campaigning and I have to serve this community as mayor until the election is determined."
He acknowledged that for candidates and sitting councillors there would now be an uncomfortable waiting period.
"A number of councillors said this morning that we should tell the Government to set a date in September so that we can have some certainty about planning for the new budget, but personally I think it is unlikely to be considered."
Nominations for the election were due to open on February 11 and close on February 28.
The Queensland Electoral Commission had said it would require at least a six-week gap between the state and council polls.
It has been confirmed that councillors will be appointed for a four-year, fixed term.