THE CONTENDERS: Today 70,000 voters will choose the region’s next mayor. The candidates – Margaret Strelow, Tim Griffin, Lea Taylor, Dominic Doblo and Brad Carter - gathered on the steps of City Hall yesterday to mark the end of a gruelling and often brutal campaign. Now it’s up to us to decide.
THE CONTENDERS: Today 70,000 voters will choose the region’s next mayor. The candidates – Margaret Strelow, Tim Griffin, Lea Taylor, Dominic Doblo and Brad Carter - gathered on the steps of City Hall yesterday to mark the end of a gruelling and often brutal campaign. Now it’s up to us to decide. Chris Ison Rokcmayor

End of a bruising campaign

LEA Taylor has been planning his mayoral bid since September.

By the end of today, he, and the others hoping to lead the region for the next four years, will know if all the effort was worthwhile.

Politics is a brutal business and there are no prizes for second place as the five contenders are about to discover.

The campaign has been a bruising affair too, laying bare the performance of the council since amalgamation and exposing stark differences of interpretation over policy decisions.

Perceptions of success and failure vary greatly depending on your perspective.

Mayor Brad Carter has spent months defending the council's record, and the integrity of its staff, against a hail of criticism from his opponents.

"I think it's been a revealing campaign," he said yesterday. "It's clear my views are different to the other candidates in that I think we have made good progress over the past four years, especially when you consider the hand we were dealt.

"We have come through the aftermath of amalgamation, the global financial crisis, floods and fires. The bulk of the decisions we made as a council were the right ones for our community."

He said he had been disappointed by what he called "baseless comments which have questioned the integrity of staff and the council's financial management".

But both Lea Taylor and Dominic Doblo continued their assault to the end; each maintaining that unless there was a change in leadership the council's debt would continue to spiral.

Mr Doblo said he believed voters faced a stark choice between change and more of the same.

"I think it's going to come down to me or Brad Carter. I think I am the only one offering something different to cut the waste so we can keep rate rises to an affordable level.

"That's why I have not got involved in preference deals or compromises. If people are not happy with the way things have been they should vote for change," he said.

Mr Taylor's campaign has been far broader than an attack on debt and waste, but it has been the central message from his team of regional independents.

He said yesterday that he thought there were still substantial numbers of undecided voters. "There will be a lot who go into the polling stations with no idea who they will vote for," he said.

It's a point of view he shares with Margaret Strelow. She spent some time at the pre-polling station in Yeppoon yesterday and said although some people were making her one of the favourites, it would be a very close call.

"I think people have had enough of politics and promises and policies. Unfortunately, the council election has come straight after the state election and people are sick of it."

A poll on The Morning Bulletin website makes Tim Griffin a clear favourite with 33% support ahead of Ms Strelow on 21%. Brad Carter and Lea Taylor each have 18% with Mr Doblo attracting 7%. The poll attracted more than 700 voters.

Mr Griffin said he had run a grass roots campaign and had spent a lot of time listening to the community.

"I've not spent a lot in advertising, but I think people have appreciated the way I have canvassed opinions. The response has been encouraging."

It appears likely that preferences will be decisive.

Only one thing is certain: those who are suffering from election fatigue can start their recovery tomorrow.



Candidate rallies for skate park, footy facility expansions

Premium Content Candidate rallies for skate park, footy facility expansions

“It’s been over 15 years since the skate park was initially constructed and it’s...

‘I don’t want it’: Armed robber skips out without his loot

Premium Content ‘I don’t want it’: Armed robber skips out without his loot

‘I don’t know what the f--- I’m doing man.’

25,000 litres of drinking water trucked to Mount Morgan

Premium Content 25,000 litres of drinking water trucked to Mount Morgan

Mount Morgan’s No.7 Dam has dropped to 9.9 per cent with only three to six months’...