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Deputy leads rebellion against Blundell's empire

Deputy Mayor Ross Bartley is taking on Mayor Peter Blundell at next year's local government elections.
Deputy Mayor Ross Bartley is taking on Mayor Peter Blundell at next year's local government elections.

DEPUTY Mayor Ross Bartley has taken a swipe at Mayor Peter Blundell as he announced he would stand for mayor at next year's election.

Cr Bartley declared he was ready to "roll up his sleeves and take on the top job".

He said the region needed a mayor with "passion, drive and experience on council".

"We need a mayor who is continually amongst the people consulting sincerely and regularly at events," he said.

"In this term, we seem to have lost many business opportunities by not following through with assistance from higher levels of government.

"This needs to change."

Cr Bartley is a fourth generation Southern Downs resident who was born in Warwick and now runs a family farming business at Hermitage.

He was first elected to Warwick Shire Council in 2000.

At the 2012 council election, Cr Bartley received 7.73% of the councillor votes.

He was elected unopposed as the deputy mayor.

Cr Bartley said if elected mayor he would work to unify the council with better, regular communication between councillors and staff.

"Over the years, we have not always had the numbers to positively reform the way council operates, but ratepayers from Warwick to Wallangarra are demanding a back-to-basics approach to operations," he said.

"We already have a great place to live.

"It is time for some hard work to get council and the Southern Downs economy up and running again."

He listed saving mobile libraries, rectifying cemetery fees and cutting excessive charges to community groups like senior citizens and sporting clubs as achievements during his term.

Cr Blundell said he welcomed Cr Bartley's nomination.

"This community deserves the right to elect candidates that are solutions focussed, who understand the issues that face the whole community, and who make decisions based on the best outcomes for the whole region," he said.

Cr Blundell downplayed claims he lacked passion, instead highlighting his achievements which included attracting new businesses to the region and creating Destination Southern Downs.

He did admit there were divisions in council, of which he took responsibility.

"As councillors, we have been divided, and as the leader of that team, I have to take responsibility for that," he said.

"I will not allow that behaviour in the next council term.

"Councillors must be united, they must not stab each other in the back or denigrate the council organisation."

Topics:  deputy mayor, mayor, peter blundell, ross bartley, warwick



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