Ar­lett looms large in field for may­oralty

Townsville Bulletin - - OPINION -

TOWNSVILLE’S may­oralty race is cer­tainly heat­ing up, with con­fir­ma­tion Jayne Ar­lett has been ap­proached to head up a team at next year’s coun­cil elec­tion.

As chair of the Townsville Fire and an ac­com­plished busi­ness­woman, Ar­lett is well known in the city.

Ms Ar­lett is re­main­ing tight- lipped about whether she will take on Mayor Jenny Hill for the city’s top job.

But there are plenty hop­ing she does throw her hat in the ring.

Ar­lett has done a fan­tas­tic job in turn­ing around the for­tunes of the Fire over the past sev­eral years.

Sup­port­ers are hop­ing she can do the same for the city, which has been hit hard by the min­ing down­turn and ham­strung by a less- than- co­he­sive coun­cil.

If she does run as ex­pected, it will make for an ex­cit­ing con­test.

Hill has plenty of sup­port in the com­mu­nity but there is no doubt Ar­lett is a strong media per­former and a savvy po­lit­i­cal op­er­a­tor.

If Ar­lett can put for­ward a fresh, united team, then Hill will have a le­git­i­mate fight on her hands.

For­mer Townsville En­ter­prise chief David Kip­pin is also con­sid­er­ing a tilt at the coun­cil, although more likely as a coun­cil­lor.

Re­gard­less of who con­tests, the last thing the city wants is another di­vided coun­cil.

There has sim­ply been too much in­fight­ing and a gen­eral lack of trust in the cham­ber over the past three years, which has un­der­mined busi­ness and com­mu­nity con­fi­dence in the coun­cil.

That does not mean the coun­cil has not worked to­gether suc­cess­fully on sev­eral big- ticket items such as last week’s un­veil­ing of the pri­or­ity de­vel­op­ment area along Ross Ck.

But imag­ine what could be achieved if unity was the norm, not the ex­cep­tion?

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