Division 10 candidates named
THERE will be three new council candidates contesting Division 10 at the local government elections on April 28.
Peter Smith (pictured), who lives at Ridges Estate, and is an interior designer who has lived in the area for the past 25 years, is running on mayoral candidate Bob Manning’s Unity ticket.
Mr Smith said the major reason he is standing for election is that he is sick and tired of the “BS” that goes on with the Cairns Regional Council.
“The people of the Douglas region are continually ignored on many issues,” Mr Smith said.
“I believe passionately in this area and I believe that if people who want to govern us they need to exercise intelligence, compassion and most importantly transparency, something the Cairns Council does not do. What they do is to treat us as a northern suburb of Cairns and that’s just not on.”
Mr Smith will be holding a press conference, along with Bob Manning who running to unseat the present mayor Val Schier, at 9.30am, on Monday, at St Mary’s by the Sea.
Former CEO of the Douglas Shire Council Terry Melchert, who was sacked, in May 2007 after more than 10 years of service, is also standing.
He made a workers’ compensation claim against the council for a payout of over $1.5 million and accepted a payout deal, believed to be worth over $100,000, from council in 2008 and promised his differences with the council “were in the past”.
Speaking from Okinawa, in the south of Japan, yesterday Mr Melchert said people in the former Douglas Shire need to feel empowered.
“The issue of de-amalgamation needs to go back to the community for something more than cosmetic consultation and we need to empower communities - bureaucrats are meant to serve the councillors who in turn are meant to serve the community,” Mr Melchert said.
“Since the amalgamation the community has become extremely disenfranchised because the political process has been overtaken by bureaucrats.
“From a strategic point of view, the council needs to be arranging its finances better.
“I think the Cairns Entertainment Precinct is a good thing but if it goes ahead in its present form it is unaffordable and will result in rates going through the roof - it really needs to be looked at carefully and proper decisions need to made.
“And the Port Douglas Waterfront Master Plan is a great concept but we need to have another look at it too and ensure it is done properly.
“We need better communication and consultation and improved financial management.”
At the time the Gazette was going to press it could not contact the other candidate Robert Shaw to canvass his views.
Incumbent Julia Leu said she stood by her record of fighting for the region and will be campaigning on a platform to build on her achievements.
“The whole area has been hit very hard economically in the last four years and I will be working to improve economic diversification initiatives if re-elected,” she said.
“Within council there is a whole raft of things that can be done to assist small business in terms of making it much easier in terms of compliance and regulation while at the same time recognising tourism is the backbone of our local economy.”