EXCLUSIVE: Former MP’s tilt for council over before it began
A FORMER state MP has bowed out of the council election race before it even started in earnest.
Retired Lockyer MP Ian Rickuss had flirted with a return to politics in the lead up to the local government elections but has now announced he will not be running.
Speaking exclusively to the Gatton Star, Mr Rickuss confirmed he had intended to run for the Lockyer Valley Regional Council, but family issues meant he would no longer be nominating as a candidate.
“As I stated when I retired from my almost 14 years in state politics and over a decade in agripolitics, my family would come first and after discussion and contemplation I will not be contesting the 2020 LVRC election,” Mr Rickuss said.
But he still took aim at the current council and listed its financial position as a reason for his desire to return to public life.
“(I wanted to run) simply for the fact of our fricking debt, and you know look at the figures … there is 14,000 rate payers who paying the highest rates in southeast Queensland,” he said.
“If you compare their rates with Somerset we’re $1,000 a rate payer dearer.”
He said mismanagement of previous councils had landed the region in a difficult position, and while he acknowledged many of the sitting council had only been in their positions a single term, he didn’t believe this absolved them of responsibility.
But he wouldn’t be drawn on whether he believed any sitting councillors should be returned to office.
“Well, look, that’s up to the voters,” he said.
When pressed as to his own opinion now he no longer intended run he declined to make a call.
“I will have to look at the candidates – I’ll have to examine the candidates and what they stand for,” he said.
Mr Rickuss has previously engaged in wars of words with past councils during his time as state MP, but said he present criticism was not a way of settling old scores.
“I just want to see good governance for the area,” he said.
As a seasoned political campaigner, he had some words of advice for council aspirants.
“Don’t underestimate the voters,” he warned.
“Listen to the voters and come up with a way to move this area forward.”
He also pleaded for candidates to not use an age-old trope in the election.
“Please don’t say you’re a local – because you’ve got to be a local to be a candidate in local elections,” he said.
While his 2020 race is over before it began, he refused to rule out a tilt at the next local government elections in 2024.
“Never say never,” he said.