Dates for your diary
- Close of nominations: 12noon, Tuesday, February 16
- Ballot draw: 10am, Wednesday, February 17
- In person pre-poll commences: 9am, Monday, March 7
- Pre-poll postal vote applications close: 7pm, Wednesday, March 16
- Pre-poll postal vote applications close: 6pm, Friday, March 18
- Polling day: Saturday, March 19
- Return of postal ballot material: 6pm, Tuesday, March 29
- Disclosure return day: Monday, July 4
NOMINATIONS are in, corflutes emblazoned with trusting faces dot the region and most people are complaining about their rates again.
It means the countdown for the local government elections has well and truly started. The Gladstone region has three mayoral candidates to choose from, and 21 councillor candidates.
The Electoral Commission Queensland office stopped accepting nominations at midday yesterday.
Returning officer Mark Larney said he was happy to have a Melbourne Cup-esque field for the council positions and the three mayoral candidates would add spice to the preferential votes.
"If it is close, the preferential votes could decide who wins," he said.
He said he was not sure if the mayoral candidates would make 'how to vote' cards or leave the preferences to the voters.
In the mayoral race, Mayor Gail Sellers was the first to nominate for the election in her bid to regain the seat at the head of the semi-circular table within the council chambers.
Matt Burnett will be hoping voters won't shoot the deputy and vote him in after he nominated to run against CrSellers.
Former council staffer, communications and marketing professional Michelle Wagner will provide a third, and new, option for voters in the mayoral race.
But of the three there can only be one winner and the losing two won't get a chance at a spot in the council chambers at all.
Out of the field of 21 people who have nominated for councillor positions there will be 13 who will end up disappointed.
Of those who are currently on the council and running again are Ren Lanzon, Rick Hansen, PJ Sobhanian and Karen Porter.
That means Maxine Brusche, Col Chapman and Graham McDonald have decided not to re-run.
The other 17 who have nominated (in order of when they nominated) are: Desley O'Grady, Natalia Muszkat, Amanda McRae, Lynette Dahl, Alf Walker, Kahn Goodluck, Edward Couch, Cindi Bush, Helena Sant, Alex Staines, Peter Powell, Peter Masters, Charles Thompson, Christopher Cameron, Glenn Churchill, Jody McMullen and Chris Trevor.
The next step is this morning's all-important ballot draw. Mr Larney will start with the mayoral candidates to decide in what order they will sit on the ballot paper. Then he will draw the names of the councillors.
It's an important process, as the 2012 election results show.
The first six of 22 names on that ballot paper were elected, the seventh and eighth weren't but the ninth was.
The only councillor elected that wasn't near the top of the paper was Cr Rick Hansen.
But get ready for some early campaigning from the nominees with pre-polling starting on March 7.