PICTURES: See who turned up to council election info meeting
VOTERS could be looking at a full field - and a long list on paper on polling day - for the local government election next month.
It looks likely to be bigger than the 2012 elections when 22 people ran for a position on Gladstone Regional Council which could be demonstration of the growing interest in governance.
But while there's no real shortage of interest in a councillor's position, the position of mayor has been less popular in the lead up.
With just under six weeks until polling day, there are still only two choices for the top job; and both are already on the council leaving those calling for complete change with little option.
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Seventeen people have publicly confirmed their intention to nominate for councillor and another 12 possible candidates were revealed at the council's information session yesterday afternoon.
Seven of the 17 are current councillors hoping for another term, but with incumbent mayor Gail Sellers and deputy mayor Matt Burnett going head-to-head for the top job, one of them won't be back.
Rumours of a comeback from former mayor Peter Corones have also been squashed when he, and Craig Butler who polled close behind Gail Sellers in 2012, confirmed last month they wouldn't be running.
The Observer wasn't allowed inside yesterday's council information session because council officers feared having the media present would stop the possible candidates asking "honest questions".
However we did obtain the list of those who attended the meeting; that included former council communications manager Michelle Wagner, the 2015 regional Miss Showgirl Helena Sant, and The Observer's newest columnist Greg Bray.
Not everyone who RSVP'd showed up, and not everyone who showed up had RSVP'd.
Amanda McRae, Peter Powell --- who ran in the 2012 elections --- and former sales representative at The Observer Rachel Catlin were late additions who might have missed out on some pre-session homework; reading the council's Vision 2035 documents, the budget and an explanation on how the council operates as an organisation.
Council director Cale Dendle said all 17 of the likely candidates would hopefully
leave with an understanding of the local economy, the issues and their role as a councillor, should they be elected.
"We need people to understand the responsibilities that come with public office," Mr Dendle said.
"The way we explain it, is by drawing comparisons to running a club. The way the system operates is like a club but a very big club. You don't often have clubs managing $2 billion worth of assets."
Before nominating, all candidates must have the endorsement of six voters from the Gladstone Regional Council area, or be endorsed by a political party.
There's also no double dipping, i.e. a mayoral candidate can't run for a councillor's position too.
Nominations must be submitted before February 16, leaving a month of campaigning before voters go to the polls on Saturday, March 19.
Those who want to get in early can cast their vote from March 7 when pre-polling opens.
Who was at the meeting?
- Cindi Bush
- Natalia Muszkat
- Clarke Meader
- Lynette Dahl
- Helena Sant
- Faith Hutchinson
- Michelle Wagner
- Jackie Ostapovitch
- Edward Couch
- Kahn Goodluck
- Sue Sant
- Greg Bray
- Amanda McRae
- Rachel Catlin
- Cr Ren Lanzon
- Cr Graeme McDonald
The Observer will run a "You Decide" election forum (dates and location still to be confirmed), but voters will be afforded the chance to learn about the policy positions of all candidates.