Gympie's worst kept secret out: Hartwig to challenge Curran
OUTSPOKEN Gympie councillor Glen Hartwig is taking his sparring with Mayor Mick Curran to the next level, announcing he will run for Gympie Regional Council's top job at the March 2020 election.
The Division 2 councillor has been consistently critical about the council's direction since he was elected in 2016, and said today it was time for a change.
"I didn't like the smoke and mirrors I saw four years ago (when I stood for election), and I certainly haven't got used to the smell of smoke in the three-and-a-half years I've been in council now,” he said.
"I did hear the Mayor's statement during the budget that it was time for councillors to come up with solutions.
"I offer myself as a solution.
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"Another four years of what we've had, it's scary to think of where Gympie will be.”
There is already support for his campaign.
"For the last two-and-a-half years I've had quite a number of people approach me.
"They see me as someone who can restore trust back into the organisation.
"I believe the community wants openness and complete honesty and to be treated as adults.
"Developers and businesses bypass Gympie because of the effort required to deal with this council.
"That's an issue of culture.”
He said Mayor Curran had had four years to turn that culture around.
"Based on the ad in the paper last Tuesday it's probably worse than it's ever been in the history of this town.”
Cr Hartwig said the council should be presented as a "form of public service”.
"We are there to encourage development, within the right parameters; we're there to assist applicants and we're there to help the community grow and prosper.
"Under my leadership, there will be openness, there will be honesty and there will be transparency.
"Live-streaming or recording of meetings... is essential in today's age and something that is not that expensive.
"Most importantly I commit to common-sense, business-based practical decisions that drive the region forward, create real jobs but most importantly deliver value for money.”
Although this is his first stint in Gympie's council he is no stranger to politics, having been involved with the Katter Party in the past.
He said it was because the party was "straight up and down”.
"Deregulation of the dairy industry was a disaster for this region, and a lot of other political parties stood around and did nothing.”
Cr Hartwig said he was drawn to stand for council because of "a lack of appropriate spending, and what I saw as a walking away from our basic and core responsibilities.”
He moved to the region from Brisbane when he was six years old, and he bought Cooloola Sandblasting and Industrial Painting six years ago.
And what does his business ownership means for his run at mayor?
"Ideally, I'd be happy to sell the business to someone who's interested.
"If that wasn't to eventuate I've got great staff who do wonderful work and they can step in and take over from me at the drop of a hat.”
Staff have already been helping him manage and run the business since his election as a councillor.
The local government election will take place on March 28, 2020.