Noosa has a new mayor in Clare Stewart.
Noosa has a new mayor in Clare Stewart.

'It's been an honour': Mayor concedes in election defeat

NOOSA will have its first female mayor in Clare Stewart with incumbent Tony Wellington conceding defeat with the last of the postals being counted.

Ms Stewart in the counting Wednesday morning had a lead of 369 votes with about 72 postals to come in.

"It's a little bit of disbelief because it's been a very long campaign," Ms Stewart said of her initial reaction.

"I'm really thankful to the people of Noosa, they've really stuck with me. I thank them for the trust they've placed in me.

"I'm really excited by the prospect of working for them.

"I'm really grateful to my team, (former Noosa MP) Bruce Davidson led the team and I'm incredibly grateful to the friends, supporter and scrutineers.

"It was a very grassroots campaign, back to basics, walking the street, talking to people and people responded."

Ms Stewart said she took her hat off to Cr Wellington and wished him all the best.

"Tony was very gracious, I wished him all the best and he wished me well," she said.

"It was really tight (the contest) and it shows the community is divided and I've got a lot of work to do to bring it together."

She said after two days of intense vote counting she was going home to spend some time with her kids before talking to Cr Wellington about the mayoral changeover.

Ms Stewart said she would not be rushing her opponent and the transition would be after the Easter break.

 

Mayor Tony Wellington and his challenger Clare Stewart had gone hammer and tong in the polling.
Mayor Tony Wellington and his challenger Clare Stewart had gone hammer and tong in the polling.

 

Cr Wellington said: "Although there are still some postal votes arriving from Brisbane today (Wednesday), they will not be sufficient to alter the outcome of the mayoral election. As things stand, Clare Stewart is more than 300 votes ahead of me.

"I wish Clare every success over the coming years. She will be Noosa's first female mayor, and that in itself is already a significant achievement.

"It has been an honour and a privilege to have served the Noosa community as both a councillor and a mayor.

"I would also like to congratulate all the candidates who will be elected as Noosa councillors," Cr Wellington said.

Her increased lead was after Ms Stewart had opened up a 300 vote lead after 74.71 per cent of the official first preference count over incumbent Tony Wellington on Tuesday.

Ms Stewart was then on 14,586 votes with her vote on 14,886 and it looked then to have sealed Cr Wellington's fate.

"These are the numbers we have been waiting for. Truth and Justice," she posted Tuesday afternoon.

"Thank you for your patience, support and love.

"The informal count was 2318 to Tony and 2337 to me. This will make up a considerable amount of the further percentage to count," Ms Stewart said.

"Other than that, declaration votes need to be formally counted. As of yesterday informal declaration was 143 Wellington and 220 Stewart."

The top four placings for the councillor contenders appear to be already filled with Deputy Mayor Frank Wilkie still ahead of Cr Brian Stockwell and Cr Joe Jurisevic, with newcomer Amelia Lorentson looking to have enough votes.

Ms Lorentson is a well known local surfer and it looks like she will be joined by master surfboard maker Tom Wegener in the latest ECQ count posted was ahead of Future Noosa's Karen Finzel.

Businesswoam Karen Cook Langdon, was adrift in seventh with artist Yanni Van Zijl in eighth spot while Noosa Landcare leader Phil Moran seemed too far back.