Di­vi­sion 10 can­di­dates named

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

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.”

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