Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham
Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham

Byron mayor eyes greener pastures

BYRON Shire mayor Jan Barham is making a new bid for State politics, standing for preselection for a prized spot on the party's Legislative Council ticket.

The move came as her close ally within the Greens, Broken Head-based MLC Ian Cohen, announced his intention to leave State politics at the 2011 election.

Mr Cohen yesterday said he was leaving to do more work with Surf Aid and to pursue business interests.

Mr Cohen wants to start a line of leather products using the skins of feral cane toads. He said he already had his first order - Shooters Party MLC Robert Brown was apparently keen for a leather jacket made from cane toad skins.

Cr Barham was yesterday in a council meeting and not available to discuss her political ambitions. However, this will be her second bid for a seat in State Parliament - her first was in 2003, when she ran a doomed race against Don Page in the safe Nationals' seat of Ballina.

The following year she made history by becoming the world's first popularly elected Greens mayor. That victory was consolidated last year when Byron Shire voters overwhelmingly returned her to the job.

Mr Cohen declined to say if he was helping in Cs Barham's preselection campaign, saying it was important to protect the integrity of November's preselection vote.

Cr Barham will be hoping to win one of three top spots on the party's Legislative Council ticket, which the party expects to win at next year's election, or the chance to replace retiring MLC Lee Rhiannon, who wants to move to Federal politics.

Mr Cohen agreed Cr Barham had strong local support, but warned her preselection was no fait accompli.

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