New division 6 Councilor Hilary Smerdon. Photo Renee Albrecht/Gympie Times
New division 6 Councilor Hilary Smerdon. Photo Renee Albrecht/Gympie Times Renee Albrecht

Concrete issues win vote

FEW were as shocked by Hilary Smerdon's electoral success as the man himself.

Early in the week, the action seemed to be in a closely fought Division 4, where Daryl Dodt won over all rivals, including incumbent Wayne Sachs.

But it was Division 6 where the real upset occurred, as preferences eroded the strong primary vote lead of incumbent Ray Currie.

"Very," Mr Smerdon, a concrete tank builder, said when asked if he was surprised by the win.

"Excited too," he said.

"I wanted the job but didn't think I'd get it, especially when I woke up Sunday morning after election day and found I was running last.

"I really thought I'd be congratulating Ray Currie," he told The Gympie Times as he reviewed his experience of final preference counting this week.

"I was 269 behind when they started counting preferences and that is a big lead to catch up.

"It shows the benefits of preference voting," he said, acknowledging that an unusually large number of voters in the region's western division must have gone to the trouble of adding second and third preferences to their Number 1 vote.

"If you want to have your say, fill in the squares," he said.

"Myself, Kevin White and Brian Thomas were all pretty close.

"Kevin was 30 or 31 behind me and Brian was five behind Kevin in the final count.

Mr Smerdon signalled change for the division and its representation.

"I'd like to see the outlying areas get a better deal," he said.

"There used to be a fair few (council workers) based at Goomeri; there's only one now. As far as I'm concerned it stands to reason to have those depots or yards staffed.

"As it is now we have people coming from Gympie or even Tin Can Bay to do jobs that could be done by locally based people quite easily.

"They travel two hours a day and a local could be there in 10 minutes," he said.