GOL Gol farmer Daniel Linklater and former Member for Mildura Peter Crisp led the field at last weekend’s Wentworth Shire Council election.
Full results were yet to be published, with distribution of preferences not scheduled until December 20, but a picture is beginning to emerge of who will sit in the nine-person chambers.
Mr Linklater, PICTURED, had received 765 first preference votes from pre-poll, election day, iVote and early postal votes, far ahead of the quota needed.
He performed strongly on the eastern side of the shire, picking up 497 of his votes at the Midway Centre booth.
Mr Crisp was also ahead of the pack, sitting on 476 primary votes earlier this week.
Real estate agents Steve Cooper (381 first preference votes) and Tim Elstone (365) were also tracking ahead of the quota needed to be elected without preferences.
Mr Linklater thanked the community for its support and described the results as “humbling” and “exciting”.
He said his first priority would be “to get my feet under the desk” and get to work.
Beyond that, he said recent consultation sessions held throughout the shire will help inform the new community strategic plan, and that would give the new council priorities to focus on.
“I want to focus on infrastructure and services and getting that water infrastructure puzzle solved, particularly at the Gol Gol end,” he said.
Mr Linklater said he hadn’t thought about whether he would put his hand up to be mayor.
“I think that’s probably a bit premature, but I look forward to working with the eight other elected councillors and just doing our best,” he said.
“I haven’t thought about that and I’d say it’s unlikely, however I do want to push a very positive agenda and I want to push a council that’s can-do and practical.”
While not yet over the quota, current Mayor Susan Nichols (180 first preferences) and newcomer Brian Beaumont (166) appeared to be in relatively comfortable positions earlier this week.
Jo Rodda (129) was further back in seventh position by primaty vote, followed by veteran councillor Bill Wheeldon (127).
Also in the mix were Greg Evans (120), Jane MacAllister (108), Geoff Pegler (68) and Steve Heywood (58).
The distribution of Mr Linklater’s preferences may benefit other candidates from the Buronga and Gol Gol side of the shire, such as Ms Rodda and Cr MacAllister.
Cr Heywood was placed third on Mr Linklater’s how-to-vote card, which may help lift his tally, while Cr Wheeldon’s familiary with voters is a likely advantage.
The cut-off for receipt of postal votes is next Friday, allowing for the distribution of preferences to take place the following week.