LGAQ predicts big council changes

QUEENSLANDERS could see plenty of new faces within their councils from April 28 with predictions of a 40 per cent state wide turnover of mayors and councillors.

There are 17 mayors who have opted not to contest their position in the local government elections on April 28, including Sunshine Coast Mayor, Bob Abbot, Gold Coast Mayor Ron Clarke, who unsuccessfully ran for state parliament, Mackay Mayor Col Meng and Townsville Mayor Les Tyrell.

A pre-election analysis by the Local Government Association of Queensland forecasted that the turnover rate among the state's 73 local councils would be higher than in previous elections.

The predicted turnover rates "are expected to be in the range of 35 per cent to 45 per cent, possibly higher in some councils", the LGAQ stated.

Six mayors in Queensland will not have to face election after returning unopposed to their position, including Central Highlands Regional Council Peter Maguire and Goondiwindi Regional Council mayor Graeme Scheu.

The Southern Downs and the Sunshine Coast have the most mayoral candidates in the state with eight people in each local government area vying for the top spots.

Overall there are fewer candidates this year than there were in the 2008 council elections and women represent 29.2 per cent of candidates, a marginal increase from 28.7 per cent in 2008.

A week out from the elections, the LGAQ have warned people that unlike state elections, absentee voting is not permitted.

"People may be under the wrong belief that since the (Electoral Commission of Queensland) is running the elections that they are able to vote absentee like they can in state elections," LGAQ chief executive Greg Hallam said.

"But there has never been provision for absentee voting at council elections and if you turn up to vote at a polling booth outside your local government area you will not be able to lodge a proper vote."

Pre-polling and postal votes can be obtained from the ECQ.

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