Twenty-four nominations were received by the close of business yesterday (August 15, 2023) for the vacant Councillor position on Toowoomba Regional Council.

Toowoomba Regional Council CEO Brian Pidgeon said Council officers were going through the process to ensure nominees are qualified to be appointed in accordance with requirements under the Local Government Act 2009 (LGA).

“The names of eligible nominees will be disclosed in alphabetical order when it is determined that all nominations are valid,” Mr Pidgeon said.

Mr Pidgeon said Councillors had asked him to investigate a process for conducting a ballot at a Special Meeting of Council to determine the appointment of the preferred candidate.

In the event Council proceeds with a ballot, it will need to occur in the open meeting prior to Council formally appointing the new Councillor. A date will be advised for this Special Meeting, which will be livestreamed.

Mr Pidgeon said Councillors are aware that they must advise of a declarable conflict of interest if they have made any public commentary, provided support, encouragement or assistance in relation to a nominee’s potential appointment as a Councillor ahead of the Special Meeting of Council.

“Similarly, Councillors also will have to declare any close personal relationship they have with any of the final nominees before any vote is taken at the meeting,” Mr Pidgeon said.

Mr Pidgeon said Council was following the requirements under the LGA to fill the vacant Councillor position for the remainder of the term. The position became vacant following the resignation of former Mayor Paul Antonio in July this year.

At subsequent Special Meetings of Council, Cr Geoff McDonald, the former Deputy Mayor, was appointed Mayor of the Toowoomba Region, followed by the appointment of Cr Rebecca Vonhoff as Council’s new Deputy Mayor.

Under the LGA there is no requirement to hold an election to fill the vacant office of Councillor as the vacancy is now too close (within 12 months) to the next quadrennial local government election, set for March 16, 2024.