LONELY MALL: A rate freeze and re-opening Langtree Mall to cars have emerged as hot local issues in the 2020 Mildura Rural City Council election campaign. Photo: Paul Mensch.

A RATE freeze and re-opening Langtree Mall to cars have emerged as hot local issues in the 2020 Mildura Rural City Council election campaign.

Candidates have started releasing their core policies and platforms since nominations closed last week, heralding an increase in campaign tempo by the 18 hopefuls.

Among supporters of traffic replacing pavers in Langtree Mall are Domenico Capogreco who stood in the council poll four years ago and local ratepayers’ association member Julie Waters.

Reducing red tape, health and mental health support and services, jobs creation and recovery of the regional economy from COVID lockdowns have also been rated high by candidates.

But the opening days of the campaign were overshadowed with a spat over preference pecking order.

First-time candidate Cyndi Power criticised council veteran Glenn Milne for placing her fifth on his guide to voters without consultation.

She said: “I have been completely blindsided by this. There has been zero consultation and the last contact I had with Cr Milne is when he handed me my citizenship certificate in 2013.”

There was also criticism from council watchers that Cr Milne’s preference guide only included one other retiring councillor.

Cr Milne in a statement to the Weekly said: “There have been a few questions raised in regard to my preferences for the upcoming council election, in particular the low placings of current councillors.

“The voting process is about getting elected, there are 18 candidates to fill nine positions. In reality a good outcome is to gain 10 to 12 per cent of the vote, although there has been one instance of around 20 per cent with the late Max Thorburn when he was first elected.

“With the current method of counting votes, it is usually only the top three to six preferences that gain any advantage from how people vote, the rest are just filling in the spaces.

“My preferences are spaced to advantage the people I would like to see gain a position knowing full well that the current councillors in the election will have their own support base and they shouldn’t need my help to get them across the line,” Cr Milne said.

Candidates last night participated in an online forum hosted by Northern Mallee Leaders.
In special coverage of the 2020 election race, all candidates have answered a special Weekly survey on their issues, platforms and affiliations.

What the candidates say – coming next.