Southern Downs mayor Tracy Dobie. Photography: Russell Shakespeare
Southern Downs mayor Tracy Dobie. Photography: Russell Shakespeare

Mum’s the word: Council won’t discuss election

COUNCILLORS will not address March 2020 local government elections ahead of it being officially called.

The Border Post put seven questions to the nine sitting Southern Downs councillors this week, only to be rebuffed.

Each councillor was afforded the opportunity to address questions relating to council achievements, the water crisis, Emu Swamp Dam and what they believed the most important election issues would be.

Councillors Cameron Gow and Vic Pennisi returned responses, but the rest responded to say that it wouldn’t be appropriate to discuss election matters ahead of February-March once campaigning properly begins.

“I believe it is inappropriate to be seeking responses relating to election issues from councillors prior to all candidates nominating,” mayor Tracy Dobie said.

“These questions are more suited to the election period which will be called on February 22, 2020.”

However, the mayor did say that it was “no secret” that she plans to recontest her position as mayor of the Southern Downs.

According to the Department of Local Government, the election will be held on Saturday, March 28.

Current and would-be councillors will be put through their paces prior to the election.

A new local government reform, announced earlier this month, has made it a requirement for all candidates in the upcoming elections (including existing councillors and mayors) to undertake mandatory training.

Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the training was integral to promoting community confidence in the sector.

“Queenslanders deserve representation of the highest calibre and mandatory training will mean they have elected officials who have a better understanding of their responsibilities and obligations when serving their communities,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“This was an important recommendation in the Crime and Corruption Commission’s Operation Belcarra Report and will make sure all candidates go in with their eyes wide open about what is required.”