Close call but Wright takes top spot
WHITSUNDAY Regional Council has a new face in Division 4 with Michelle Wright officially claiming victory on Sunday.
It was a close race for the seat left vacant by Nicola Grieger who did not recontest as she is expecting her second child in June.
In the official first preference count, Cr Wright claimed 39.04 per cent of the vote, 173 votes ahead of Brett Murphy.
Just over 150 votes behind Mr Murphy was Peter Lawton, leaving just 327 votes between third and landing the seat.
Cr Wright said it was “a relief” to be declared councillor and looked forward to taking on the new role and representing the region.
“I was very excited and very humbled by the support of the people,” she said.
“(I was) just honoured they have faith in me to be able to do the job and I will do it the best of my ability.
“I’m looking forward to working with this team, I think it’s a good balance … a successful council is a diverse council.”
Cr Wright is one of three new councillors to join the table. Gary Simpson was declared Division 5 councillor last week and Al Grundy landed Division 2 seat over the weekend.
Among the priorities for Cr Wright was securing more jobs in the area to give the younger generation wider opportunities when choosing a career path.
However, she said council’s first priority should be looking at ways it can help the region navigate the challenges of coronavirus.
“I think the focus has to change and I think we will be focusing on COVID-19 and getting the people and businesses and workers and families through this time,” she said.
“Whether we can get some sort of funding relief from the state or federal government and pass that on to the ratepayers is something council is going to have to work out.”
Cr Wright thanked the other candidates, those who voted for her and said she was eager to be the new voice for Division 4.
“I’m looking forward to just helping people, I think that’s why I wanted to come into this role,” she said.
“I feel this level of government is the closest to the people and I believe you can make a big difference to communities and families.”