Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Sharon Small­wood

AS THE Lo­cal Govern­ment elec­tion of March 19 draws ever closer, our may­oral can­di­dates aren’t hold­ing back.

In­cum­bent mayor Jen­nifer Whit­ney says she is run­ning again on “ex­pe­ri­ence, in­tegrity, re­sults”.

Cur­rent deputy mayor An­drew Will­cox says he is the “only choice for change”.

And new­comer Eric Oliver says he’s not bound by the pol­i­tics of the past.

At a fo­rum hosted by the Proser­pine Cham­ber of Com­merce on Tues­day night, Mr Oliver was first to take the floor, out­lin­ing his vi­sion for sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment and how a coun­cil un­der him with a “ci­ti­zen’s jury” would work.

When asked what he wanted to achieve in a first term, team­work and in­still­ing trust and con­fi­dence were among his pri­or­i­ties.

Cr Will­cox said his top pri­or­i­ties were uni­fy­ing the re­gion, pro­vid­ing proper plan­ning and bet­ter in­fra­struc­ture and spend­ing coun­cil money wisely.

Proser­pine pub­li­can Thomas Dunne asked why, if unity was one of his aims, he hadn’t backed the cur­rent mayor more.

Cr Will­cox was adamant the fault wasn’t his, say­ing “when you’re the mayor I think it’s your role to bring ev­ery­one to­gether and to pro­vide all the in­for­ma­tion to all the coun­cil­lors – not just to get four votes”.

Cr Whit­ney how­ever spoke of the hor­rors she’d been through in the last four-year term, com­ing into of­fice with “great am­bi­tion” yet dis­cov­er­ing the coun­cil was deep in debt.

She spoke about her dark­est days, in­clud­ing hav­ing to beg Queens­land Trea­sury “to try to keep the doors of the build­ing open” and be­ing the fig­ure­head of a coun­cil la­belled the “show pony on how not to do busi­ness” of the 77 lo­cal gov­ern­ments in the state.

She also spoke about her chal­lenges within the board­room where divi­sion has pre­vailed, con­fi­den­tial data has leaked, and projects she wanted to see suc­ceed were “hi­jacked”.

When asked by MC for the night Reg Gillen what she was most proud of in her term, “I’d love to say I’ve de­liv­ered the town plan, but no, it got killed, I’d love to say Chi­na­town, but no, that got killed and I’d love to say the air­port, but no, we’ve had high jinx be­hind the scenes with peo­ple go­ing and stop­ping that in Bris­bane,” she said.

Dur­ing ques­tion time Mr Dunne said maybe Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil hadn’t been ready for a “strong fe­male mayor” to which Cr Whit­ney con­ceded “male chau­vin­is­tic at­ti­tudes” had cer­tainly been part of her daily strug­gles.

Other ques­tions from the floor sur­rounded the de­vel­op­ment of the air­port, of which Cr Whit­ney was fully sup­port­ive, as was Cr Will­cox, “pro­vided the deal is right” and like­wise Mr Oliver “as long as due dili­gence is done”.

Cr Will­cox fielded ques­tions re­gard­ing the cir­cu­la­tion of a Face­book post in which Divi­sion 6 can­di­date and for­mer mayor Mike Brunker said he would “guide” him from the side­lines. His an­swer was, “I’m not go­ing into this to be Mike Brunker’s pup­pet”.

“I’m my own man and I’ll make my own de­ci­sions ac­cord­ingly,” he said.

MAY­ORAL CAN­DI­DATES: Eric Oliver, Jen­nifer Whit­ney and An­drew Will­cox

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.