4 February 2024

Aurukun, Lockhart River mayors confirm another tilt at top job

| Lyndon Keane
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Aurukun Mayor Keri Tamwoy, pictured with her son and fellow councillor Kemuel Tamwoy, has confirmed her candidacy for next month’s local government elections. Photo: Cape York Weekly.

Two of Cape York’s highest-profile mayors say unfinished business is driving them to chase another four years in their respective council’s top job.

With nominations for the Queensland local government elections opening last week, Aurukun Shire Council Mayor Keri Tamwoy and Lockhart River Aboriginal Shire Council Mayor Wayne Butcher have both confirmed they will run as mayoral candidates when voters go to the polls on 16 March, 2024.

Both mayors have been fierce advocates for their communities, with Mayor Tamwoy telling the Cape York Weekly she believed another term in office would allow some big-ticket projects to come to fruition in Aurukun.

“I do intend to nominate again, and hope to be reelected, as I would need another term to implement some things that council have been unable to, as four years is not enough time to actually make things happen,” she explained.

In confirming her candidacy, Mayor Tamwoy admitted the past four years at the head of the table in the council chamber had taken its toll.

“I have given much thought to this very heavy topic, as it has been a very difficult term for me as mayor, both personally and professionally,” she said.

“I must say it has been one of the best experiences I have had being a mayor, and it has given me a deep appreciation for the role.”

Mayor Butcher said, if reelected, his fourth term would be his last, adding that building sustainability, capability and capacity for the organisation were at the top of his to-do list.

“I’m definitely nominating and running one more time for the mayor’s position, as this will be my last if elected, as we have to finalise some big community projects,” he said.

“[The Lockhart River] community has been supporting sustainable and stable governance for the past three election cycles, which has given the community and council sustainable growth.”

Mayor Butcher said he was proud of how his leadership to date had allowed the council to attract key investment in major community infrastructure, including housing, water and sewerage treatment facilities, and social and recreational infrastructure.

Several of Cape York’s other council leaders approached about their candidacy did not respond to the Cape York Weekly.

It is understood Kowanyama Aboriginal Shire Council Mayor Robbie Sands, who is also chair of the Torres and Cape Indigenous Council Alliance, will be seeking election for a second term.

Candidates have until midday on 13 February, 2024 to submit their nomination.

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