The office of mayor and CEO at the Rockhampton Regional Council chambers.
The office of mayor and CEO at the Rockhampton Regional Council chambers.

When 7604 residents could go back to polls if Williams wins

It could be any day now that the region will know who the new mayor of Rockhampton is.

As of Wednesday afternoon 81.16 per cent of the vote has been counted with 45,359 tallied out of 55,885 registered voters.

But with close to 2000 postal votes outstanding, counting has slowed.

Sitting councillor Tony Williams remains in the lead with 10,980 votes, accounting for 24.85 per cent.

Russell Claus is next in line with 15.55 per cent of the vote from 6,873 votes.

Chris 'Pineapple' Hooper is coming third with 12.29 per cent of the vote, gaining 5,429 votes.

According to Electoral Commission of Queensland data, 1828 postal votes are outstanding, which has slowed vote counting over the past few days.

All postal votes must be returned by February 2.

ECQ commissioner Pat Vidgen said determining the outcome of the Rockhampton mayoral by-election could take some time with 17 candidates contesting the role.

"Some electors may have chosen to preference all 17 of the candidates on their ballot paper, meaning the count could take some time to finalise" he said.

"A final declaration is only made when the outcome is mathematically certain and this may not be possible until after the deadline for the return of postal votes on Tuesday, 2 February."

Acting Mayor Neil Fisher with Tony Williams celebrating at the Kalka Shades Hotel on night of election day.
Acting Mayor Neil Fisher with Tony Williams celebrating at the Kalka Shades Hotel on night of election day.

If Mr Williams was to be declared mayor, his position of Division 3 Councillor would become immediately vacant.

A councillor's vacancy must be filled within two months, according to the Local Government Act.

The Act states the vacancy must be filled by a by-election.

The legislation dictates the vacancy could be filled by the previous runner-up however given Mr Williams had no opponents in the March 2020 election, a by-election is the only option.

The CEO is to invite nominations for the vacant councillor role within 14 days after the role becomes vacant, which would be the day, if and when, Mr Williams is officially declared as mayor.

Division 3 has 7604 enrolled voters and covers the areas of Lakes Creek, Nerimbera, Koongal, Berserker and The Common.

Mr Williams began his career as a councillor in 2004, clocking up 16 consecutive years in the role since.

In 2016, Mr Williams won the seat of Division 3 with 59.6 per cent of the vote, equating to 3,527 votes.

His opponents were Susan Cunningham with 1,108 votes and Amanda Marshall, who was a Team McMillan member, with 1,277 votes.

In 2012, the division was declared as Division 8 and Mr Wlliams' only opponent was Leyland Barnett, who secured 25.95 per cent of the vote.

Mr Barnett was one of the 17 candidates in the 2021 mayoral vacancy by-election.


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