Surat locals gather for Council election countdown

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It was the first official community forum for the upcoming local government election and if this is anything to go by its sure to be a spirited campaign over the next four weeks.

Eleven council candidates kicked off the campaign trail at Surat on Thursday and were each given five minutes to outline key issues to a crowd of locals.

Candidate Peter Sheehan used his time to question the incumbent Mayor on concerns surrounding the rumour Maranoa Regional Council CEO, Julie Reitano operates in her position in a FIFO capacity.

Mayor Robert Loughnan didn’t get a chance to answer the question on the night, insisting Mr Sheehan use his allotted time to talk about his own campaign.

However, Mayor Loughnan hit back today.

He insists Ms Reitano is a resident of Roma.

“She’s a hard worker, she flies at her own expense when she needs to fly, she lives in Roma and pays rent,” Mayor Loughnan says.

This is not the first time the legitimacy of Ms Reitano’s residential status in the community has been called into question.

“These rumours have been circulating without me being able to respond to it and when it comes out like it did last night I need to respond as it’s damaging to council and the candidates,” Mayor Loughnan said.

Key points from other candidates on the night included solutions to wild dogs, improving infrastructure and increasing the local tourism industry.

The event was hosted by the Surat Lions Club, it was a chance for voters to put a face to the many names on the ballot.

This is surely not the last we’ll see of them yet.