2024 Election| Ipswich Mayoral candidates pitch for top job

March 15, 2024 1:48 pm in by
Photo: Ipswich pre-poll booth in Nicholas Street mall. ARN/River 949

With the local government election only a day away and pre-polling already open, Ipswich Mayoral candidates are pitching their reasons to be voted into the top job on council.

It comes as the Queensland Electoral Commission reveals that 25,000 of 155,000 voters have already cast their votes in Ipswich ahead of the March 16 election.

There’s currently six candidates vying for the top job including incumbent Mayor Teresa Harding, Ken Salter, Peter Robinson, Karakan Karoly Kochardy, David Martin and Incumbent Ipswich Division One councillor Sheila Ireland.

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River 949 caught up with a number of the candidates and current Ipswich Mayor ahead of the election and this is what they had to say about their chances of winning in Saturday’s election.

Teresa Harding – Independent

The Incumbent Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding is campaigning to keep her seat at the local government elections this weekend.

The current sitting Mayor said among the main issues for Ipswich is that it’s the fastest growing city in Queensland.

“We’ve started with tremendous plans with the redevelopment of the CBD but we’ve also installed more roads, footpaths and curbed channelling than any other council in the past — so it really is an important role to continue that,” she said.

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Photo: Ipswich Mayor at the launch of her 2024 election campaign. Supplied.

Cr Harding also took aim at former Ipswich councillors running for election while stating that her policies were to keep the city moving forward.

“It’s important for people to move away from the old days of council,” she said.

“I commit to being a true voice to the people as well and I think in this election we’ve got four former councillors running and I think residents can’t go back to the sad old days of corruption and dodgy and backroom deals and need to move forward and continue,” she said.

Among Teresa Harding’s policies is to reduce cost of living pressures, expand the road and transport network, deliver for the suburbs and boost investments in grass roots sports and community.

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Ken Salter – Independent

Ipswich Mayoral candidate Ken Salter wants more done for Redbank Plains, an area he describes as ‘one of the most deprived’ in Australia 

Mr Salter has lived in Redbank Plains for 44 years and is a local rugby league identity.

He also was founder of the Redbank Plains Rugby League Club.

Mr Salter said that Redbank Plains is one of the most devoid areas in Australia.

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“It has got no infrastructure, no support from governments and it’s only locals like himself who’ve done anything for the area and I’ve decided it has to have a voice,” he said.

Mayoral candidate Ken Salter has also criticised the Ipswich Council for allowing approval of a second rugby league club less than two kilometres from their existing club.

” Eighteen months ago a very dysfunctional club moved into our area, and they began targeting our junior players,” he said.

“If those kids are taken out of our club, they could end up on the street after the opposing club picks and chooses the best of our junior players,” Mr Salter said.

The Ipswich mayoral candidate Ken Salter also believes that the Redbank Plains Rugby league Club will do more than be a band aid solution to fixing crime and other issues in the area.

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Peter Robinson – Independent

Ipswich Mayoral candidate Peter Robinson is concerned about the growing debt in Ipswich City Council.

The debt was sitting at $403 million when the 2023-24 Budget was handed down by council last year.

According to reports, Ipswich City Council’s blow out in the Budget was partly impacted by the costs surrounding the redevelopment of the Venue Building and shops in Nicholas Street mall as well as maintenance works and construction of new roads in the area.

Mayoral candidate Peter Robinson said he would get rid of the debt or at least reduce it if elected.

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“That $403 million is preventing us from being able to do other projects because we cannot borrow significant amounts of money.

“So there’s a lot of stuff council needs to do including that second bridge that’s been talked about for 20 years,” he said.

“The council needs to go back to basics to fixing the roads, getting the rubbish bins picked up regularly, getting the grass mowed as well as environmental issues,” he said.

Mr Robinson also believes council would save money if it stopped outsourcing core services such as roads and rubbish and do the work in house instead.

David Martin – Independent

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Ipswich candidate David Martin is running for mayor because he’s disappointed at the way the community has suffered under the current council in the last couple of years

Mr Martin is a school teacher and heavily involved in local rugby league.

Ipswich Mayoral candidate David Martin said he believed that the community is currently being ignored by Ipswich City Council.

“I want to see the council looking after people, embracing and bettering communities and I’m really frustrated at the amount of money, I see $73 million for a cinema complex when we have so many other pressing needs around our community,” he said.

“So I would like some vision restored and see some good things happening in our community.

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Ipswich Mayoral candidate David Martin said the other main issue that council has at the moment is the half a billion dollars debt.

“Unfortunately this council has racked up quite a bill — so that’s a massive issue.

“I see parks and footpaths around the place not getting maintained. 

“So again I think we’ve been spending money in the wrong areas,” he said.

Mr Martin, who was dismissed from council in 2018, has four platforms — back to basics, community engagement, infrastructure needs and the local economy.

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Sheila Ireland – Independent

Ipswich Mayoral candidate Sheila Ireland wants money to be invested into Ipswich and the suburbs.

The incumbent Ipswich Division One Councillor has decided to have a run at the mayoral job after being a councillor for 18 years.

Cr Ireland said that she will really work hard for Ipswich to get investment into the city if elected as mayor.

“We will need to work closely with the state and federal departments as well as bring investment grants from the Queensland government,” she said

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“It’s important for more to be done with vital infrastructure in Ipswich as another 250,000 people will be living in the city in the next ten to fifteen years. 

“We must have rapid transport so we get cars off the road — there’s just a lotto be done,” she said.

Ipswich mayoral candidate Sheila Ireland’s policies for council include mowing the the grass, collecting the rubbish, fixing the roads, offering one free voucher to the dump each year, restoring trust in council, creating local jobs for local people and rebuilding our local economy.