Former mayor ready to go again
MARGARET Strelow confirmed the region's worst-kept political secret yesterday.
Announcing that she will be a candidate for mayor at next month's Rockhampton Regional Council election, she said she decided to come out of political retirement because "there's been a disappointment with the council that's palpable in the community".
Although she refuses to criticise current mayor Brad Carter by name, the woman who ran Rockhampton City Council for eight years, hinted that a crisis of leadership had been behind that disappointment.
The very public frustrations with the bureaucracy expressed by some councillors had convinced her that she should run.
"I believe I can provide the sort of leadership that lets the councillors shine.
"I know that there are some extremely capable elected members.
"We have some good people working in City Hall too, but there's been an imbalance.
"A lot of what drives the region comes from unity and commitment at the council table. We can do a lot better," she said.
"Leadership isn't just a title; it's about ensuring there's mutual respect. Both sides - the councillors and the staff - have to step up to the plate."
Ms Strelow said her big political passion was in ensuring the region engaged productively and positively with what was happening around it.
"We are in such a fortunate position. We have the power to pick and choose how much development we want and the lifestyle we want to enjoy.
"If Australia is the place to be in the wake of the global financial crisis, then Rockhampton is the place to be in Australia. The possibilities are endless."
After four years developing a successful accommodation and wedding event business at her family's historic Queenslander in George Street, Ms Strelow says she's lining up someone to run her business interests so she's ready to give her full attention to being mayor.
And she says she is not linking her candidature to any other individuals or political grouping.
"I'm standing as an independent and won't be giving preferences."