Gympie Regional Council Division 2
Gympie Regional Council Division 2 Electoral Commission of Queensla

First new runner joins race for next Gympie council seat

THE first new contender for a seat on the next Gympie Regional Council seat has stepped into the ring, and they are fighting on a platform of transparency.

Curra's Leonora Cox has stepped up to take a crack at landing the seat which is being vacated by councillor Glen Hartwig so he can challenge mayor Mick Curran for the top job.

Ms Cox said it was her home division and resolved a problem which reared its head in 2016 when she ran against Cr Mal Gear in Division 3.

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Leonora Cox. Angela Kay

"I did get some comments for standing in a division I didn't live in,” Ms Cox said.

And the platform she was running on was open government.

"I really believe there has to be a lot more transparency,” she said.

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Ms Cox agreed there were definitely some documents understandably kept confidential, such as contracts, but "there should be a lot more available to the public”.

This belief extended beyond printed text, too.

"I've been to one or two (council meetings),” she said.

MOTIVATED: Gympie swim teacher Leonora Cox says learning to swim is as important as maths.
CHALLENGER: Curra resident Leonora Cox is running for the Gympie Regional Council's Division 2 seat at the next election. Tom Daunt

"I almost can't see a lot of value to what's going on there.”

And she does know a thing or two about the intricacies of local government.

Ms Cox served two terms on Cardinia Shire Council in Victoria at the turn of the century, and said the Gympie region shared a lot of similarities with where the shire was at the time.

"I feel like I've got the benefit of hindsight,” she said.

The mother of two moved to the Gympie region "about 11 years ago”, and with her daughter finishing school this year, it meant she would have time to dedicate to a role she believes "is a full-time job”.

She was, however, hesitant to make any iron-clad guarantees on what she would deliver if elected.

Gympie Council 2018 Hilary Smerdon, Dan Stewart, Glen Hartwig, Bob Leitch, Mick Curran, Bob Fredman, Mal Gear, Daryl Dodt and Mark McDonald.
Councillors Hilary Smerdon, Dan Stewart, Glen Hartwig, deputy mayor Bob Leitch, mayor Mick Curran, Bob Fredman, Mal Gear, Daryl Dodt and Mark McDonald. Renee Albrecht

It is a decision she said was driven by what could gleaned about the current and future budgets.

"It's going to be very, very difficult for the new council coming in,” she said.

"Until you're voted in (and see the details) I don't think it's fair to make promises and then not be able to deliver them.

And although the election is not until March 28 next year, she was not daunted by the prospect of running a nine-month campaign.

"It always feels like this last- minute race,” she said.

"I now have time to get around to people and let people know about me and my intentions.”