YOUR GUIDE: Rockhampton mayoral candidates for 2016

TODAY is the day that Rockhampton Regional Council voters cast their vote to elect a new council and mayor.

Here is a guide to who is who in the Rockhampton mayoral race:


To help voters know who is who in this election, The Bulletin has put together this story on each candidate, as they appear on the ballot sheet:

Click on the names to take you straight to the individual profiles:

  1. Chris Hooper
  2. Michael McMillan
  3. Bruce Diamond
  4. Dominic Doblo
  5. Lea Taylor
  6. Cr Margaret Strelow

Chris Hooper

Chris Hooper - Independent. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
Chris Hooper - Independent. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin Allan Reinikka

Politics is no new game for Chris, who has run for State Government in the past, and he has a list of things he wants to see implemented in Rockhampton.

"It would be run for the mayor, so the mayor only takes advice off this board… because we have (Michelle) Landry, Margaret (Strelow) and (Brittany) Lauga all having a go at each other, but we have got a community here so that should not be happening," he told The Bulletin.

In addition to that Chris, who is a self-funded retiree, would like to see public transport become free for all locals.
Chris would also like to see a community bank set up, and a community casket.

Stepping away from the "global village" is also part of Chris's plan for Rockhampton.

"We have got to get back to a Rockhampton village, everyone has to look after everyone else in the village."

On top of that, Chris said he stands against a stadium for CQ, and wants to give autonomy back to Mount Morgan, Gracemere and all the suburbs, as well as taking control of recycling and rubbish to employ the unemployed.

Michael McMillan

Michael McMillan. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Michael McMillan. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison

Michael McMillan's professional background prior to arriving in Rockhampton was as an economic development and governance reform specialist.

He has worked extensively across all levels of government during his time with the Federal Government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade/ Austrade, as Deputy CEO of the commercial arm of Brisbane City Council (BCC) and in coordination of a variety of international aid developmental programs funded by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and AusAID.

The nature of this work required significant time away from his young family consisting of two young children, and in late 2008 the McMillans came to the decision to pursue a better work life balance.

"We are fortunate having realised these ambitions and are now extremely grateful and proud having worked hard to establish our own business (The Coffee Club - Stockland Rockhampton) and calling Rockhampton home," he said. 

Mr McMillan's mother (Valmai Chatterton) was born on a dairy farm near Struck Oil and went to North Rockhampton High in its inaugural year of 1954. Michael's father Graham was the son of a Lakes Creek meat worker and attending Lakes Creek Primary School. 

Mr McMillan stated that the primary motivation behind his candidacy was to ensure council's focus upon what he believes is the most important challenge currently facing the region, that of economic reform and job creation.

"Council is a business with a huge strategic and social obligation; it exists solely to serve the interests of the community now and into the future. Contemporary local government must take the lead and drive its own developmental prospects; it must be proactive and not wait for state and federal government direction.

To contact Mr McMillan ahead of the election day, you can email him or you can follow the Team McMillan Facebook page for updates or message. You can also follow Team McMillan on Twitter (@TeamMcMillan16) and Google+.


Bruce Diamond

Bruce Diamond
Bruce Diamond File

Bruce is a well-known campaigner in the region, and has previously run for state and federal positions without success.

But he said his entire campaign for local government is to "go back to basics".

"I am not going to be making or announcing any policies that have anything to do with costing money," he said.

"We have got to make council a leaner and meaner machine than what it is, and the only way we can do that is to make changes.

"It seems like everybody here (at council) has a four-wheel drive, I think the tea lady probably has one."

Bruce said he believed the big bucks were being spent at council on consultants and entrepreneurship, something he wanted to stop.

"To become entrepreneurs like this council is doing is all very well and fine, but entrepreneurship belongs primarily to the private sector," he said.

"That is what they're there for - they get government funding and private funding to do it.

"Council should only be involved at a level that can be sustained."

Bruce said he wants to get "more boots on the ground, in the parks and the gardens".

"There are things that we need to address in this office," he said.

"Let's get back to basics."

Follow Bruce on Facebook.


Dominic Doblo

Dominic Doblo - talking about waste of council money taking people to court, and poor town planning. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin
Dominic Doblo - talking about waste of council money taking people to court, and poor town planning. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin Sharyn O'Neill

Dominic has featured in numerous media stories over the years and has run in a number of elections.

He owns a landscape business 'The Landscape'.

He has been outspoken about refugees in the region, namely the potential for there to be Islamic extremists living in Rockhampton.

Mr Doblo said council should not allow any request for Muslims to have their own burial ground at any of the region's cemeteries, nor should it allow mosques to be built on council land.

"I don't want them to have a separate cemetery... If they don't want to get buried with us then don't come here. (Read more here Doblo says no to mosques)

He has also been an advocate for the proposed mega dam at The Gap, upstream from Eden Ban Weir.

The outspoken advocate for The Gap Dam has been campaigning for the Federal Government to invest some of the $200 million put aside from its agricultural white paper on a feasibility study on the "nation building" proposal.

"The only way we can talk about a big future for agriculture in this area is with The Gap," he said last year.

Doblo is not convinced the proposed Eden Bann and Rookwood weirs are good investments.

Follow Dominic on Facebook and Twitter (@dominic_doblo).

Lea Taylor

Lea Taylor announces as official mayoral candidate. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
Lea Taylor announces as official mayoral candidate. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin Allan Reinikka

Lea is no stranger to politics having served as Rockhampton mayor for six years from 1991.

He told The Bulletin recently there had never been a great need for change in managerial direction than now.

"I will start a process of debt reduction while keeping rate rises within the CPI index," Mr Taylor said.

"By broadening our rate base, cutting down on unnecessary waste and creating better budgeting within council departments to obtain better and more efficient outcomes within council operations overall, the same as I did successfully while in council before.

"While starting the process of stimulating the confidence of our region instead of destroying incentive.

"By minimizing unnecessary council over-processing, red tape and inconsistencies causing costly delays for investors and developers to the point where we are frequently losing valuable business investment and employment opportunities throughout the region."

"We must look at reconfiguring the commercial and industrial zonings to properly cater for the needs of our business operators overall, to suit the requirements that best apply to their operations and not push them into areas that do not properly benefit their intended operations.

"As well as rework the intent of zone usage to work in better with business requirements."

Mr Taylor also announced plans for road improvements and surrounding the Memorial Gardens.

"I will immediately start working towards bringing our Memorial Gardens back into full operation for our community."

Lea ran in the 2012 Local Government elections for the mayoral seat and got the third highest number of votes out of five candidates.

Follow Lea on Facebook.


Cr Margaret Strelow

Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow on Quay street admiring the colonial era architecture. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow on Quay street admiring the colonial era architecture. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison

Margaret has 12 years experience serving the region as mayor, with an eight-year period starting in 2000 and then four years starting in 2012.

She was a primary school teacher, a full time mother to four children, a child care centre director and a student.

Margaret posted on her website that during her eight-year term, the key projects she worked on included the Gracemere Industrial Area, the 'food bowl' and the weirs on the Fitzroy River and engagement with the mining community were projects lead by council.

"I did not contest the election in 2008 believing that a new Mayor would give the newly amalgamated council the best chance.

"By early 2012 it was obvious that the amalgamation was not going well and so I answered the call from many in the community to nominate in 2012.

"The budget was in serious deficit and debt had risen from $84 million at amalgamation to $220 million with several multimillion dollar items ordered but not yet paid for at the time I was re- elected.

"In the last four years I have stopped the ever upward rise in debt and have actually paid four and a half million dollars down.

"I've returned the budget to a comfortable Surplus and the strength of our finances now is evidenced by the fact that we were able to sustain the financial shock of Marcia with only a 1.9% Rates rise.

"I put the topic of the Fitzroy Weirs back on the agenda, allocated funding to finish the work at Gracemere - both residential and industrial, and I have begun a major renewal programme in the CBD of Rockhampton with new technology and jobs firmly at its heart.

"I believe it's important for Rockhampton regional council to be very focused on its own economic health at the moment."

Follow Margaret on Facebook, Twitter (@MargaretStrelow) and check out her website for more information.


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