'I won’t forget I work for them': New face for Division 5
IT WAS second time lucky for Gary Simpson has been named the new Division 5 councillor.
Mr Simpson, who originally ran for council in 2016, maintained the lead he established on election day and in the end claimed 55.34 per cent of the vote.
He will take the place of the previous Division 5 councillor, Dave Clark, who served on council for 12 years.
Mr Simpson has been a lifelong resident in the region and has held positions with both the Proserpine Canegrowers Association and Sugar Services Proserpine.
While he said navigating uncharted waters and helping the region through the coronavirus pandemic would be a challenge, he was ready to be a strong voice for the community.
"Coronavirus has come out of the blue for everyone in the last few months," he said.
"We just need to maintain essential services that the community pay for - the rates, water, electricity, sewage and garbage, and make sure everything's maintained.
"There are a few major projects that have already started like the water pipeline to the beaches, Shute Harbour and the Proserpine Entertainment Centre, but any new spending and new projects will have to be out on hold indefinitely."
In the meantime, he said getting state and federal government support would be key to helping the region while also ensuring those employed in the mining and farming industries could continue to work.
At the top of Mr Simpson's to do list was following up on questions he received from the public while campaigning for council.
"There's a few things I learned during the election process. A few people sent me emails and my first priority is to look into them," he said.
"I won't forget that I work for them and not for myself, that's the number one priority that I've got to tell myself every day."
He also looked forward to working with a "diverse" council with at least two new faces set to fill the unannounced seats, as former councillors Ron Petterson and Nicola Grieger did not re-contest their seats.
While he didn't have any big celebrations planned, Mr Simpson thanked everyone who helped him secure the seat and looked forward to getting to work.
"Thanks to everyone that voted for me and I'll do my best to represent them on council because that's what I'm there for," he said.
"I just want to do my best and I know it's going to tough times but we're Australians and North Queenslanders at the end of the day."
Dave Clark was contacted for comment but did not respond by the time of publication.