Mayor Ron Bellingham.
Mayor Ron Bellingham.

Mayors exit the stage in droves

IT SEEMS there is a state-wide trend in local government, with 17 Queensland mayors so far standing down at the next election.

The Gold Coast's Ron Clarke and Sunshine Coast's Bob Abbot are two who will be joining Southern Downs Mayor Ron Bellingham as they wave goodbye to their mayoral positions.

Cr Bellingham said he was not surprised the other heads of local government were following suit.

"The autonomy of local government has been severely reduced and that's why there's a great degree of dissatisfaction with the way the government is acting," Cr Bellingham said.

He said it was this rocky relationship between state and local governments that had seen the positions within council gain an unattractive image and therefore, deterring candidates.

"What I am fearful of, with the number of mayors that are not standing across Queensland, I have a great fear party political machines will try to fill these voids and that will be an absolute catastrophe," Cr Bellingham said.

"Party political machines have no place in local government.

"If they have any more influence in local government it will be catastrophic," he said.

Cr Bellingham said he would like to see more people put their hand up for his position but they needed to have a passion to create a single regional culture.

"I am hoping people with some business experience will put their hand up and I feel we haven't had the opportunity to develop a single culture in our region," he said.

"Most of all, it's important the council adopts a role more along the lines of a board of management. The new mayor would have to focus on getting the council to operate as a management board."

The mayor's main message was that the relationship between state and local governments needed to be re-organised and autonomy restored to local government if they would like to see more mayoral interest.



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