Candidates' last-minute pitch to voters
GLADSTONE Region residents had an opportunity to hear from all six councillor hopefuls at a Meet the Candidates public forum held at the Gladstone Yacht Club on Wednesday.
Presented by tourism body GAPDL, each candidate opened with a five-minute pitch to voters, followed by three questions from GAPDL and three questions from the audience.
There were varying degrees of nerves from all candidates as they spoke in front of almost 40 people including mayor Matt Burnett, deputy mayor Chris Trevor, Cr Glenn Churchill and Labor candidate for Flynn Zac Beers.
GAPDL chief executive officer Darryl Branthwaite was happy with how the event panned out.
"It was a good turnout with some good questions too. I thought the candidates responded pretty well to them," Mr Branthwaite said.
"Obviously the questions without notice had them thinking on the spot but there was some pretty constructive thinking."
Mr Branthwaite said GAPDL brainstormed about 20 questions but eventually settled on three: What is your dream for the Gladstone Region? Where do you believe council should focus its attention? If you were mayor for the day what would you do?
"They were hypotheticals because you can be controversial with the whole thing but it can get quite nasty and spiteful," he said.
"We really want to get to know these people, not necessarily what side they sit on, but how they think."
Gladstone Region mayor Matt Burnett said he'd be happy to work with any of the candidates.
"It seemed to me every single one of them were happy to come on board," he said.
"Being a by-election you're not going on as a new council, you've got to come in halfway through a term and join a team that's formulated a plan that the community elected us to do in 2016."
Cr Burnett doesn't expect the new councillor to make an immediate impact.
"No one will hit the ground running because there's budgets to go through, policies, Local Government Acts and the rest of it," he said.
"I certainly feel they'll want to be part of the team and work together for the community.
"Everyone has the best interests of the community at heart and that's important."
Elected to Gladstone City Council in 2000, Cr Burnett said it took some time to wrap his head around the workings of the council.
"I had a bit of an idea, but even when I was elected at 24/25 ... a lot has changed in 18 years," he said.
"It's totally different to when I was elected in 2000."