18 March 2024

Election count set to decimate Cape and Torres mayoral ranks

| Lyndon Keane
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Cook Shire electors cast their vote to determine what the makeup of their council will look like for the next four years on 16 March. Photo: Supplied.

Lockhart River Aboriginal Shire Council Mayor Wayne Butcher looks set to be the only incumbent council leader across Cape York and the Torres Strait who will retain power following Saturday’s local government elections.

As of 2pm on 18 March, the majority of sitting mayors in the region chasing another four years at the helm of their respective councils appeared to be staring defeat in the face, with the exception of Mayor Butcher.

In Aurukun, high-profile incumbent Mayor Keri Tamwoy trailed Barb Bandicootcha, who had secured 43.7 per cent of the ongoing official first preference count.

Elsie Seriat will become the next mayor of Torres Shire Council after opening up a clear lead on incumbent Yen Loban, who won the role during a 2022 by-election.

At neighbouring Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council, sitting Mayor Patricia Yusia will likely only serve a single term in the top job after finding herself more than 12 per cent behind Robert Poipoi with 60.63 per cent of the official first preference votes counted.

READ ALSO Letter from the Editor: Campaign mudslinging needs to go, not become the Political Olympics’ latest sport

The curse of incumbent mayors failing to get re-elected appears to be continuing in Kowanyama, with Robbie Sands well behind frontrunners Territa Dick (26.38 per cent) and Monty Gilbert (23.62 per cent) in an eight-candidate field.

Roy Chevathen will secure the mayoral role in Napranum, while the races in Hope Vale and Mapoon were too close to predict at the time Cape York Weekly went to press.

Mayor Bradley Creek will almost certainly be ousted in Wujal Wujal and trailed opponent Alister Gibson by almost 37 per cent with 60.18 per cent of the displaced community’s votes counted.

Five councils – Weipa Town Authority, Cook Shire, Douglas Shire, Mapoon and Pormpuraaw – were always going to have a new head of the table in the chamber after voters visited the ballot boxes on 16 March.

Counting suggests current Cook Shire Council Deputy Mayor Robyn Holmes will earn a promotion to replace outgoing Mayor Peter Scott, while Jaime Gane was elected unopposed to take Weipa Town Authority chair duties from Michael Rowland, who called time on 16 years of community representation.

READ ALSO Holmes claims victory in Cook Shire mayoral race

Pormpuraaw Aboriginal Shire Council Mayor Richard Tarpencha is looking unlikely to hold onto even a councillor position after he opted to not contest the mayoral race, with Ralph Kendall leading a field of four to replace him in the top job.

In Douglas Shire, Lisa Scomazzon is shaping up as the candidate to replace retiring Mayor Michael Kerr, and held 48.29 per cent of the primary vote on Monday morning.

Voters in the Torres Strait Island Regional Council local government area will have to wait a week to find out who will represent them until 2028, with the Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ) extending voting until 23 March, 2024, due to poor weather conditions hampering mobile polling attempts.

With voters having until 26 March to return postal ballots, the ECQ is not expected to make result declarations until late next week.

You can keep up to date with the latest vote tally in your council area at ECQ’s 2024 Queensland local government elections website.

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