Friday, February 9, 2024
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
The Whitsunday Regional Council local government elections were delivered a curveball on Wednesday this week when the popular current Mayor, Julie Hall, announced she would not be running for the Mayoral seat in the next election.
Ms Hall provided a public statement citing her reasons for withdrawal were “putting my health and family first.”
“It has been a very hard decision and an honour to serve the people of the Whitsundays, I will complete my time as Mayor when the new council is elected and takes office,” she said.
Mayor Julie Hall will not be running for Mayor in the next election. Photo credit: Mackay and Whitsunday Life Newspaper
Julie Hall was declared Mayor of Whitsunday Regional Council in August 2022 and for the past 18 months she has served the local electorate with the goal of being ‘the people’s mayor’ and increasing the connection between the community and Council.
During her tenure she introduced the engaging face-to-face community catch-up sessions, helped to facilitate a resolution to fix the long-standing issue of the Shute Harbour Boat Ramp and been a strong supporter and advocate for the Whitsunday Coast Airport among other significant local issues.
She also hosted the record breaking 2023 Mayors Charity Ball, raising over $105,000 for two local charities.
“A big thank you to the community for your support and it was a pleasure to serve you,” read her public statement.
“Having been elected against the odds and against three sitting members whilst only living in the region for just over three and a half years was a strong message to Council that the community had lost trust in the Council and wanted change.”
“I would personally like to thank Deputy Mayor, Cr Gary Simpson who supported my role as elected Mayor with the utmost respect and integrity as did my committed personal Executive Assistant, Mardi Mathieson.
“I can honestly hand-on-heart say to the community, I have done my absolute best, I have worked determinedly for the people and our community, and I hope Council will continue my legacy to always acknowledges the voice of the community first and foremost.”
Deputy Mayor Gary Simpson and Councillor Michelle Wright both expressed their respect and gratitude for Ms Hall.
“I thought Julie did a great job and it was quite unfortunate that she didn’t get as much support from other people as she should have,” said Mr Simpson.
Ms Wright said that she wishes Ms Hall “all the best in the future.”
Who’s Up For The Top Job?
Councillor Gary Simpson: “I’m happy to put my hand up if need be, I’ll do it, but I think there will be a few good candidates come forward in the next few days”
Councillor John Collins: “It’s not for me, I’m sure some other worthy candidates will put their hands up”
Councillor Michelle Wright: “At this stage in my life with a young family it’s not for me, but it is something I would be interested in down the track”
Councillor Jan Clifford: “I’m contemplating it, but I haven’t made my mind up yet, I think the community will benefit in having me at the table so it would be a risk” (because a Mayoral candidate cannot also run for Councillor and if they are unsuccessful, they would be out)
Councillor Clay Bauman: “I think the role of Mayor is a very important job and it’s not a decision that anyone should make lightly, I haven’t made a decision yet”
Councillor Mike Brunker: Stated he would not be running
As of going to print on Wednesday afternoon, the Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ) register had one official completed candidate nomination for Mayor which is Peter J Hood.
Any other candidates have until 12pm, Tuesday 13th February to officially nominate.
At this stage no-one has stepped forward to publicly announce, but it is expected more candidates will come to light in the next few days.
The Local Government Elections will take place on Saturday 16th March.