Campaigns heat up
WELL, we’re almost there. The weeks of mounting preparation and tensions will soon break out onto the field as players get seriously down to business.
Oh, you thought I meant the start of the AFL and rugby seasons!
No, the council elections, due on March 19, have taken on some gladiatorial aspects, not to anyone’s surprise, I’m sure.
This election in Douglas has shaped up along the fairly standard issues of rates/costs/services, “transparency” and decision making at council, and the question of more or less development.
The first of the chamber of commerce’s meet-the-candidates forums is today in Port Douglas (next Tuesday in Mossman) and promises to be well attended and lively.
(And well done to the chamber for providing this community service at this time).
Various platforms, not least an electronic billboard on Front St, Mossman, have been pressed into service to raise the supposed matter of a “22 per cent rate rise” (over four years). Someone’s name stating the authorisation of the billboard’s electioneering statement would have been a revelation, since the same billboard also recommends to voters various candidates in what could be construed as a voting ticket (not that groupings of candidates is illegal if that’s what they want).
This week the council CEO, the mayor and some of the councillors have written repudiations of this supposed runaway rate hike.
The public will have to decide the merits of the respective arguments on this, along with all the other things, and there isn’t much time left.
It’s funny, but I don’t remember any of the councillors making a fuss of this forecast 5.2 per cent annual rate increase when the 2014 budget was unanimously passed by council.