New look to council

Five fresh faces will join three incumbent councillors and newly-elected mayor Melissa Hamilton in the council chambers for the next four years. Pictures: SUPPLIED

By Jeremy Cook

Just three incumbents will return to their posts on the Southern Downs Regional Council, the final vote tally from last month’s election has confirmed.

A little more than two weeks after voters went to the polls on 16 March, the Electoral Commission of Queensland officially declared victories in favour of five previously untested faces on the weekend.

New councillors Carla Pidgeon, Sarah Deane, Russell Wantling, Joel Richters and Morwenna Harslett will join incumbents Cynthia McDonald and Ross Bartley in the council chambers for the next four years, as well as Sheryl Windle who received the most number of votes with 14,498.

They will be led by newly-elected Mayor Melissa Hamilton whose defeat of Vic Pennisi was confirmed more than a week ago.

Andrew Gale, Cameron Gow and Stephen Tancred finished outside the top eight, meaning half of the incumbents who stood for re-election as councillors failed to retain their seat.

Outgoing councillor Andrew Gale said he was disappointed with the result, but looked forward to spending more time with his family.

“I can say with all sincerity that the last four years have been tremendously satisfying and I know my mark has been left on the community,” Gale said.

“I think I’ll leave my career as a politician at that, and give others the opportunity in future.”

In a post to social media, Mr Tancred congratulated newly elected councillors and praised council staff who he said he “felt honoured” to work with.

“I’m extremely proud of the council I served on and the role I played over the past four years,” he said.

“But I do fully accept that voters have again chosen a new direction and a team to take them there.”

Final results

Declared winners –

Sheryl Windle: 14,498 votes, 8.25%

Carla Pidgeon: 12,739 votes, 7.25%

Cynthia McDonald: 12,657 votes, 7.21%

Sarah Deane: 12,112 votes, 6.89%

Russell Wantling: 11,831 votes, 6.74%

Ross Bartley: 11,311 votes, 6.44%

Joel Richters: 11,082 votes, 6.31%

Morwenna Harslett: 10,940 votes, 6.23%

Losers –

Ian Thompson: 10,863 votes, 6.18%

Marika McNichol: 10,432 votes, 5.94%

Andrew Gale: 10,428 votes, 5.94%

Nick Suduk: 10,403 votes, 5.92%

Cameron Gow: 10,101 votes, 5.75%

Stephen Tancred: 8,538 votes, 4.86%

Kelvin Johnston: 7,044 votes, 4.01%

Brett Tunbridge: 6,302 votes, 3.59%

Noel Grosskopf: 4,382 votes, 2.50%