A costly bi-election is a real possibility.
A costly bi-election is a real possibility. Nikki Todd

Southern Downs ratepayers face $250k poll

SOUTHERN DOWNS residents could be forced back to the ballot box within weeks for a council by- election estimated to cost ratepayers $250,000.

Local councillors Jo McNally and Cameron Gow are among three LNP contenders vying for the safe Southern Downs seat at the next Queensland election, and if either win, a snap council poll will be called.

A Southern Downs councillor said if either jump ship it will be an enormous expense to ratepayers.

"The council budgets $250,000 for an election whether it is full-term vote or a by-election," the councillor said.

"It costs the same amount to vote in one councillor at a by-election as several at the formal local government election, as both require the same expensive and time- consuming postal vote or ballot box process."

One concerned yesterday told the Daily News Crs McNally and Gow showed disloyalty to the community by pursuing parliamentary roles, particularly less than a year into their four-year council term.

Warwick accountant John Donges said a council by-election was inevitable.

"They are two candidates in a three-way race for a very safe LNP seat so the chance one of them will vacate their council seat to head off to state politics is highly likely," Mr Donges said.

Crs McNally and Gow's desire to throw in their council jobs was a slap in the face for ratepayers, Mr Donges said.

"One is the deputy mayor, the other is a prominent councillor. Look back at all the promises they both made when they wanted to be voted in last year.

"Now they are happy to jump ship for personal gain. I think ratepayers will have every reason to be annoyed that a debt-laden council will have to call a very expensive by-election because two people can't commit to their jobs."

James Lister, who is a squadron leader in the Royal Australian Air Force, has also been fielded in the LNP's local picks.

The Daily News sought comment from Mayor Tracy Dobie but she declined the opportunity. Neither Crs McNally and Gow returned Daily News phone calls.



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