3 February, 2024
Councillor to bow out
MAREEBA Shire is set to lose one of its sitting councillors after Cr Locky Bensted announced he will not be contesting his position at the 16 March local government election.
Cr Bensted chose last week’s meeting to make the announcement, saying it was a decision he did not take lightly and one that had taken six months to make.
“I am proud to have been a part of Mareeba Shire Council as an elected local member and I am very lucky to have worked with such a great and dedicated Mayor and Councillor team,” he told the meeting last week.
“I also want to mention the incredible team that makes up the Mareeba Shire Council, from the CEO right through to all our outdoor staff. Mareeba Shire residents should feel lucky that this team exists.
“When I first ran and got elected as a councillor, we had two kids under three, an announcing and music production venture, two very successful businesses and a small cattle and horse operation.
“During the last four years we made a very hard decision to sell one business to help with the workload of council, family and our business.
“The past four years have been challenging and it’s been a real juggle to be able to put the deserved amount of effort in all of our workloads.
“I am proud that I have not missed one council meeting in the four years. In looking forward to the next four years, there will need to be further sacrifices made and that is why I’m not running again.”
But he hinted he was not finished representing the community.
“This won’t be the last time that I put my hand up for an elected position but for the next four years I am looking forward to enjoying some time with my family, being a part of the community, albeit in a non-official position, and being able to continue and improve our business of truck training across the Tablelands.”
Deputy Mayor Cr Kevin Davies may also not be running for Mareeba Shire after he put his hand up for pre-selection by the LNP to be the party’s candidate for Cook at October’s State election.
Cr Davies will be vying for pre-selection alongside former Member for Cook David Kempton, who represented the seat from 2012-15, and Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr.
If Cr Davies wins the pre-selection process, he will have to withdraw from the local government election in March.
Last week, Cr Mary Graham confirmed she will be running for a seat in the chamber again this year.
At this stage, Mareeba Mayor Angela Toppin remains as the only contender for the Mayoralty.
In other local government election news, Tablelands Regional Council’s (TRC) Dave Bilney has confirmed he will be running for Division 3 again at the March poll.
He will join Crs Kevin Cardew, Bernie Wilce and Annette Haydon (?) who are all aiming to get another term on council.
Cr David Clifton has already announced he will not be running for Division 4 in 2024, rather he will be vying to become TRC’s next Mayor. Cr Peter Hodge will also not run, as he and his wife have decided to move to Brisbane.
Tablelands Mayor Rod Marti has also confirmed he will be putting his hand up to remain in his current position.