Mayor Paul Antonio.
Mayor Paul Antonio.

Councillors react to scrapping of election voting changes

TOOWOOMBA Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio was “delighted” to hear the State Government has scrapped the introduction of compulsory preferential voting at the next local government elections in March.

The plan, mooted as part of the Crime and Corruption Commission’s Belcarra Report, would have seen proportional representation used in undivided councils such as Toowoomba.

It would have meant a group was allocated a certain number of councillor positions based on how many votes they received — similar to the way the Federal Senate is elected.

“It was perceived to be an attempt to bring politics into local government,” Cr Antonio said.

Cr Antonio said local government worked best when the 10 most capable, passionate people in the community were making decisions and “not dictated to by external bodies such as political parties”.

The State Government abandoned plans to change the voting system on Tuesday.

It followed a fierce campaign from the local government sector.

“We’re very well served by first past the post,” Cr Antonio said of the current system.

Deputy Mayor Cr Carol Taylor agreed with Cr Antonio, saying she feared there would have been a “tremendous amount of informal votes if it went ahead”.

“We all want transparency but I firmly believe our community should only have to vote for who they want to vote for,” she said.

“I don’t think our community were keen on (the changes).”



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